Shmini: Seek the Middle

“Moshe then inquired, darosh darash, about the goat of the sin offering, and it had been burned” (Vayikra 10:16). Judaism has always stressed the importance of the middle position. Ideologically, the Rambam teaches, we should seek the middle ground (the golden mean). We lain with the sefer Torah in the middle surrounded by two people, and a Torah scholar walks in the middle of his entourage. Rosh Hashanah...
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Tzav: Time to Change?

Excitement and consistency: We tend to view these terms as contradictory. Man gets excited over discovering new things and views variety as the spice of life. Modern man is bored with a consistent routine and eschews the seeming monotony that accompanies lack of change. It is the new and exciting that we seek. Even investors find the “old economy” boring and are willing to pour billions of dollars into new and untested, but “...
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Purim: Ignoring G-d

March 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Purim celebrates the eternity of the Jewish people. Despite exile and dispersion, genocidal enemies and those willing to turn a blind eye to such, the Jewish people are here forever. When Esther sent a letter to the Sages, “kitvuni ledorot,” write me down for the generations (Megillah 7a), she was proclaiming that the story of the Megillah is the story of the Jewish people for all time. Its inclusion in the Biblical...
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Vayikra-Zachor: Remembering Sacrifices

March 15, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
One of the fiercest debates amongst Biblical commentators of the medieval period was to what extent, if at all, parts of the Torah may be seen as allegorical. No less a personage than the Rambam claimed that stories such as the three angels visiting Avraham, or Yaakov’s struggle with an angel, were prophetic visions that did not actually occur. As one can imagine, views such as these—and more radical ones, which allegorized such ...
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Chulin 100: Torah at Sinai

March 14, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Because of this the children of Israel, to this day, do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the socket of the hip, since Jacob’s hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle” (Breisheet 32:33). The prohibition to eat gid hanasheh dates to Yaakov’s encounter with the mysterious “man” as, alone at night, he prepared to meet Eisav. It is the third of the three mitzvot that appear in...
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