Vayechi: The Inconsistent Truth

December 21, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And they said, should they make our sister like a harlot?" (Breisheet 34:31). So ends round one of the debate between Yaakov on one side, and Shimon and Levi on the other, over the killing of the people of Shechem for the rape of Dinah. The Torah moves on to record Yaakov's return to Beit El as the family enters a new phase in their travels. It is on Yaakov's deathbed that we hear his response: "Shimon and Levi, the...
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Chulin7: Pass the Pork

December 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of the questions I am often asked by those of my students who do not keep kosher, is have you really never eaten non-kosher food? I generally reply along the lines that I have never knowingly eaten non-kosher food, have never eaten at McDonalds or Pizza Pizza and I have no idea what lobster tastes like (I hear it is very good) and I will not even eat some salad at a vegetarian restaurant[1]. But of course I cannot be sure that I have not...
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Chulin 7: The Idolatrous Snake

December 18, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Over and over again the Torah warns us not to allow avodah zara, idolatry, in the Land of Israel. Yet, as is often the case, things are not always quite so simple and at times there can be other considerations that outweigh a seemingly clear Torah command. As we discussed in our last post the nachash hanechoshet, the copper snake, that had saved many lives in the desert, eventually became an object of (idol) worship. Yet Asa...
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VaYigash: Looking Ahead

December 14, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Since the time of Joseph, infighting has been the Achilles heel of the Jewish people, causing untold pain, suffering and national calamity. So much of our collective energies are wasted on disagreements with others; many of them are so trivial when viewed from the perspective of history. The schisms of the 19th century, caused to a large extent by such topics as sermons in the vernacular or the placement of the bimah in a shul, are...
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Chulin 7: Time for Something New

December 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
"It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam]…to teach that no man is the same as another; therefore, every person must say, ‘For my sake ‎the world was created’” (Sanhedrin 37a). The desire to be different and to make a difference is part and parcel of being human. We are unique individuals and must be allowed to express that uniqueness. The need for personal creativity helps...
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