Ki Tissa: With the People

February 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“G-d declared to Moshe, Go down [from the mountain] for the people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt” (Shemot 32:7). What is the role of a leader? What are his responsibilities? Can he, should he be held responsible for the actions of his followers even if he is not to blame? The Torah’s answer is unequivocal. A leader is judged by the actions of his flock. When his followers fail, the leader must find a...
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Chulin 83: Cow and Calf

February 21, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of most famous mitzvot of the Torah is that of shiluach haken, the obligation to send away the mother bird before taking her little chicks or even unhatched eggs. So important is this mitzvah that it is one of the very few in which we are promised long life for its observance.  This well-know mitzvah has a “cousin”, one not quite as well-known—that of oto v’et beno,...
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Tetzaveh: Clothes Make the Man

February 15, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The billions of dollars spent by the fashion industry, not to mention the celebrity status of fashion gurus, testify to the importance attached to proper dress by modern society. It may come as a surprise that Judaism also stresses the importance of clothing, well beyond aspects of modesty. The Rambam (Hilchot Deot 5:9) stresses the importance of wearing clean, even fashionable clothing, and warns against wearing dirty or unkempt clothing...
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Chulin 60: The Essence of Torah

February 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of the teachings that is ingrained in us from a young age is that every letter, and surely every verse and story, found in the Torah is of great significance. We have elsewhere discussed that this premise is far from unanimous, with some of the greatest rabbis throughout the ages maintaining that “the Torah speaks in the language of men” (see, for example, here) and hence, not every word is necessarily of great...
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Chulin 60: Once in a Blue Moon

February 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
The least observed of biblical holidays is undoubtedly Rosh Chodesh. As a holiday based in the Temple, with no home or synagogue based rituals, there is little to distinguish Rosh Chodesh from any other day.  Yet in the Torah itself, Rosh Chodesh is a most important day—and with 12 of them a year, it is arguably the most important of the biblical holidays. It is the mitzvah of kiddush hachodesh, the sanctification of...
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