Menachot 29: Moshe Meets Akiva

September 21, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: When Moses ascended on high, he found the Holy One, Blessed be He, sitting and tying ketarim, crowns, on the letters of the Torah[1]. Moses said before G-d: Master of the Universe, mi meakev, who is preventing You [from giving the Torah without these additions]? G-d said to him: There is a man who is destined to be born after several generations, and Akiva[2] ben Yosef...
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Haazinu: Action Reaction

September 21, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jewish thought teaches that the physical and spiritual worlds are meant to function harmoniously. Both are essential, and a proper balance must be maintained between them. "If there is no flour there is no Torah, and if there is no Torah there is no flour" (Pirkei Avot 3:17) is not only a statement of fact, but one of theology. Furthermore, Judaism posits that in addition to its physical properties, the universe itself has spiritual...
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Yom Kippur: Welcoming the Evil Inclination

September 18, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“For the sin that we sinned before you with the evil inclination”.  The double alphabetic acrostic of the al chet lists a wide range of areas in which we have not lived up to our potential. Misuse of speech, lack of integrity in our monetary dealings, getting caught up in the loose moral values of our society, infighting, and our general lack of respect for man and G-d are some of the sins mentioned....
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Menachot 29: The Death of Rabbi Akiva

September 17, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of the most moving parts of the Yom Kippur davening is the recital of the asara harugei malchut, the ten rabbinic leaders martyred by the Romans. A similar piyut is recited on Tisha B’Av, though the purpose of each—and hence, the piyyutim themselves—differs. On Tisha B’Av, it is included as part of the mourning process on the saddest day of the...
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VaYelech: The Last Message

September 14, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The time has come for new leadership. “I am no longer able to come and go, and G-d has told me you will not cross the Jordan” (Devarim 31:2). While the people complained plenty about Moshe's leadership, clearly they were very nervous about him leaving the scene. Moshe reassured the people that all will be fine with Yehoshua, and that he, too, will have Divine assistance in his mission. Yehoshua was also nervous. How was he...
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