Re'eh: Conflicting Emotions

August 30, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is difficult to feel two contradictory emotions at the same time. Conflicting, if not contradictory, emotions such as joy and sadness, love and hate, fear and comfort, do not easily co-exist. As human beings constantly struggle with conflicting emotions, Judaism, wanting to give each its proper time for expression, separates differing emotions into separate days.   The fear that gripped the Jewish people during the...
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An Introduction to Masechet Keritot

August 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with heavy mitzvah” (Avot 2:1). Contrary to what is often taught, not all mitzvot are created equal. Some are more important, some less so. The mitzvah to accept upon oneself to observe the commandments (done through the recital of the shema) is clearly of greater importance than, say, ensuring we put salt on all our sacrifices[1]. Yet one who wants to maximize...
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Eikev: A Long Journey

August 23, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"According to the days that you spent exploring the land, forty days, a year for a day, you shall carry your sin and you will know My actions" (Bamidbar 14:34). The sin of rejecting the land of Israel was not easily forgiven and forty days would turn into forty long years, enough time for an entire generation to die. This is well known and seemingly indisputable.  However, Moshe Rabbeinu, speaking to the second generation weeks...
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Philanthropy Works: We Just Need More of It

August 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Birthright Education
Hillel Rapp has identified a serious impediment to solving the tuition crisis—namely, the spiraling costs incurred by day schools. This, according to Rapp, is caused in large measure by the pressure to raise the costs ever higher in an ongoing effort to attract more donations. He suggests that if schools would instead focus on the needs of the student body, market forces would ensure that affordable education were the...
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Tu BAv: Coming Together

August 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
One of the lessons Nehama Leibowitz, z”l, drilled into us during the time I was fortunate to study with her was that if Rashi has two explanations for a pasuk, it means he was not fully satisfied with either. Had he been, he would have given only that one explanation. If such is true regarding just two explanations, what can we say about something that has six explanations?  “Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said:...
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