Yom Kippur: A Great Day!

October 07, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Our society worships greatness. Whether it be athletes, rock stars, actors or successful business leaders, they are showered with wealth and adulation and pampered wherever they go. People pay great sums of money to be in the presence of, or acquire an object once used by, the perceived greats of our society.  Attaching oneself to greatness is indeed a most noble and worthy endeavour. It is why Biblical exegesis has interpreted the verse...
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Aseret Yemi Teshuva: I Confess

October 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Integral to the teshuva process is the act of vidui, confession. One can intellectually know one has done something wrong; one can even feel terrible about it. But unless and until one verbalizes that one has sinned—and for sins against our fellow man, vidui should be done publicly (Hilchot Teshuva, 2:5)—teshuva cannot be complete. It is precisely because it is so hard to admit a wrong,...
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Vayelech: Poetic Licence

October 03, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites, so that this song will be a witness for the Israelites" (Devarim 31:19). The simple meaning of this verse is a command to write shirat Ha'azinu, the Song of Ha'azinu, which bears witness to the tragedies that await the Jewish people if they do not follow the Torah. Nonetheless, our Sages (Sanhedrin 21b) derived...
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Rosh Hashanah: Early, Late or Just Right

September 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
"And on the seventh month on the first day of the month, it shall be a day of rest. It is a sacred day for remembrance and blowing" (Vayikra 23:24). What the Torah calls a day of blowing (of the ram's horn) is more commonly known as Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. Yet the seventh month seems an odd time to be celebrating the start of a new year. We are apparently six months late…or perhaps it is six months early...
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Nitzavim: Pass the Water

September 27, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"You are standing this day all of you before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel: your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of the camp, from the hewer of wood unto the drawer of water” (Devarim 29:9-10). As Moshe’s life nears an end and the Jewish people are poised to enter the Land of Israel, Moshe, as he has been doing...
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