Noach: Defending Noach

November 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For years, psychologists have debated the impact of the environment (nurture) on the development of human beings. Can we be inherently changed by exposure to our surroundings? Or does our environment act as a mechanism that helps reveal our latent nature? Jewish teachings abound with admonitions regarding the importance of the surroundings we choose. The Rambam (Hilchot Deot 6:1) goes so far as to rule that if one's environment is not...
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An Introduction to Seder Taharot

October 31, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Jewish law is generally divided into three distinct areas: issur v’heter, ritual law; dinei mammonot, monetary law; and tumah v’tahara, laws of purity and impurity. Just as the laws regarding criminal and civil law differ—the former requiring evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and the latter a balance of probabilities—each area of Jewish law has its own rules and procedures....
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Breisheet: Sin and Sinning

October 25, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The holidays of Tishrei—with their emphasis on sin, repentance, reconciliation, and joy—are behind us. It is time to get back to our “normal” routine and catch up on the many items on our agenda. From a practical point of view, the New Year is really beginning, and along with it, the weekly Torah cycle. It is most unfortunate that with all the catching up to do—along with the short week that follows Simchat...
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Shmini Atzeret: Election Day

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Tomorrow is Shmini Atzeret. It is also Election Day in Canada. While that is no doubt unfortunate for (observant) Jews, these days, Election Day is a bit of a misnomer. People have been able to vote for weeks, and some 4.7 million voters, or 1/6 of all eligible voters, have already voted. And when one considers that in the past nine elections turnout has been under 70%, some 25% of all votes have likely already been cast.  At the same time,...
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V'zot Habracha: From G-d to Man

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When writing a book, a good author will introduce the major themes of the book in the opening chapters, develop these and other secondary themes throughout the story, and conclude with a recap highlighting the major themes of the book.  The 31 verses that comprise the creation story tell us little about the origins of life on this planet. They do, however, tell us something much more important; all human beings contain within them...
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