Chulin 3: Meet the Shochet

December 05, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
That the role of a modern rabbi in the Western World is far different than that of the rabbi of Eastern Europe is rather obvious. The typical 19th century Polish rabbi, for example, did little pastoral work, did not deliver sermons, raise money for the shul, nor officiate at bar-mitzvas. His time was primarily taken up with learning, teaching and paskening shailot, answering halachic queries[1], something many modern-day...
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Chanukah: A Special Nation

December 03, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
One of the painful realities of Jewish life is that the Jewish people are often judged by a double standard. What in other cultures is done with impunity often causes an uproar when it is the State of Israel doing the exact same thing. While frustrating and unfair, it is a burden we should be most proud of.  The nations of the world have an innate ability to grasp the uniqueness of the Jew. How else to explain the fixation of the...
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An Introduction and Overview of Masechet Chulin

December 03, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Masechet Chulin, a derivative of the word chol, translates as “The Secular Tractate”, and stands in contrast to the first two masechtot of seder Kodshim, those of Zevachim and Menachot, which deal with the laws of animal and grain sacrifices, respectively.  With Jewish thought of the view that everything has the potential for holiness, masechet Chulin is a relative term. In fact, it is...
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VaYeshev: Respectfully Declined

November 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Yaakov ripped his garments and put sackcloth on his loins, and he mourned for his son many days” (Breisheet 37:34). Thinking—with good reason—that Yosef, his favourite son, was dead, Yaakov was inconsolable, and he “refused to be comforted” (Breisheet 38:33). His misery was compounded by the fact that there was no body, no funeral, and thus, no possibility of closure. Yet our Sages (Megillah 17a)...
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Menachot 110: A Sweet Smell

November 29, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“It is said of the olah sacrifice of cattle, ‘rei’ach nichoach, an offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 1:9); and [it is said] of the olah sacrifice of birds, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor (Vayikra 1:17); and [it is said] of a grain offering, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 2:2), to teach you that whether one offers much or little [...
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