VaEtchanan: Learning to Read

August 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Torah encompasses all aspects of life: it regulates our existence from the day we are born until the day we die, and from the moment we awake until we retire at night. It is only after one has accepted the binding nature of the Law that one may begin to question the whys of the Law. While clearly some laws are more important than others, our attitude towards them all must be one of absolute obedience. "Be as meticulous in the light...
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Devarim: Equality for all

August 09, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
With old age comes knowledge of life that can only be gained by experience. Thus, Jewish law insists that all elders, even non-observant or non-Jewish ones, must be given honour and respect. There is no substitute for experience. The more the person has experienced, the more they can teach us about life. Moshe Rabbeinu, as the only person to ever speak "face to face" with G-d, surely had much to impart to all of us. Knowing that he...
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Temurah 14: Get it in Writing

August 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Night and day reflect polar opposites. The former symbolizes hope and excitement, the latter fear and trembling. They join together to form a complete day, but separate they must remain. Hence, those mitzvot that are to be done in the daytime, such as shofar, tzitzit, hallel, or lulav, can be performed during the day only. And those mitzvot that are to be performed at night, such as harvesting and counting of...
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Erachin 16: To Rebuke or Not to Rebuke

August 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“How do we know that one who sees something unseemly in his friend, that he must rebuke him? Because it says (Vayikra 19:17), ‘You shall rebuke, rebuke, amitecha, your friend’” (Erachin 16b). While on the surface this seems like a straightforward question and answer, it is in fact much more. It is not, for good reason, the practice of the Gemara to ask, “how do we know” that which is explicitly...
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Mattot: Split in Half

August 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The centrality of the land of Israel is a basic tenet of Jewish thought. Our Sages note that mitzvot performed outside the land of Israel are little more than practice (see Rashi, Devarim 11:18)—not unlike spring training, which is necessary to get in shape for the regular season, but has no independent meaning.  In asserting this rather radical claim, our Sages refer not to those mitzvot which are dependent on the...
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