Divrei Torah

VaEtchanan: Beyond the Law

The most obvious connection between Tisha b’Av and parshat Vaetchanan—which is always read on the Shabbat following this saddest of days—lies in the opening lines of the parsha, where Moshe pleads to enter the land from which his beloved people would be exiled hundreds of years later.   The origins of Tisha B’Av stem from the chet hameraglim, the sin of...
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Marriage over Mourning

July 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
A Jewish wedding consists of two distinct parts: eirusin and nisuin. In eirusin (also known as kiddushin), the chatan gives the kallah something of monetary value—the universal custom is to give a ring—and declares, Harei at mekudeshet li b’taba’at zo k’dat Moshe v’Yisrael, "Behold, you are betrothed to...
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Tisha B'Av: Back to School

July 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
If someone gives you ten answers to a question, the one thing you can be assured of is that none of the answers is a very a good one. If one has a good answer to a question, one has no need for an additional answer, which may actually serve to weaken one’s arguments.  One of the most common expressions of the Gemara, v’tzreecha, “it is needed”, is used where the Gemara is forced to explain why it...
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Shabbat 139: It's Good to Forget

July 27, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: Three thousand halachot were forgotten during the days of mourning for Moshe” (Temurah 16a). All too often, we take things for granted, only realizing what we were blessed with when we no longer have it.  It had never entered the mind of the Jewish people that they would have doubts regarding issues of Jewish law. If ever a question arose, they could simply...
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Devarim: Justice Justice You Shall Not Pursue

The true state of health of any society can be determined by an examination of the justice system that it provides for its citizens. Are rich and poor, famous and infamous, powerful and weak treated alike, or does the degree of justice depend on one’s status in society, or ability to afford an expensive lawyer? Do people have confidence that illegal behaviour will not go unpunished?  We have seen time and time again that,...
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