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Everything Follows The Beginning

07/16/2021 09:06:20 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (119b) provides a list of eight reasons why Jerusalem was destroyed.  One that I find most intriguing is:

אָמַר רַב הַמְנוּנָא: לֹא חָרְבָה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁבִּיטְּלוּ בָּהּ תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית רַבָּן

Rav Hamnuna...

He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.*

07/09/2021 05:31:07 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Two full tractates of the Talmud (Nedarim and Shavuot) as well as parts of others (Nazir, Archin) are dedicated to the basic idea that one should be careful to fulfill their promises. 

Rambam goes out of his way to point out that even promises that lack the technical formulation of an oath must be upheld (Hilchot Nedarim 1:16).  In these affairs what matters is the intention of one’s heart.


Their eyes saw what Moshe’s' eyes did not see

07/01/2021 10:54:18 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

שראת עינם מה שלא ראת עינו של משה - Their eyes saw what Moshe’s' eyes did not see

A Tribute To Ruthie Shulman

Thank you Ruthie for helping us see things that we had not seen before.

The Rambam, towards the end of his Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed 3:51)...Read more...

Banners In The Desert: Common Purpose and Individual Esteem 

05/14/2021 09:43:07 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

There is a stark contrast between how Bnei Yisrael went out of Egypt and the way they travelled in the wilderness. 

Upon leaving Egypt, there was a sense of pride and excitement. The Torah testifies to this when it says: (Ex: 14:8)

וּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יֹצְאִ֖ים בְּיָ֥ד רָמָֽה׃ 

As the Israelites were departing...

Walking In Two Directions

05/07/2021 12:36:45 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

וְהָיוּ הַדְּ֒בָרִים הָאֵֽלֶּה אֲשֶׁר֯ אָ֯נֹכִי מְצַוְּ֒ךָ הַיּוֹם עַל֯־לְ֯בָבֶֽךָ: וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶֽיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּ֒ךָ בְּבֵיתֶֽךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּ֒ךָ בַדֶּֽרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּ֒ךָ...Read more...

Meron and The Chapter Break

04/30/2021 11:14:59 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Dear Friends,

We are all shocked and saddened by the tragic events that took place in Meron, Israel. A night that was supposed to end a period of mourning has ushered in a new period of sorrow for the 45 people who lost their lives.

While we are preparing our shabbat meals, dozens of families in Israel are preparing for funerals.

The Sefer Hachinuch writes that we learn the...

The Two Goats and US

04/23/2021 12:30:39 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

ויקרא ט"ז

(ז) וְלָקַ֖ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֣י הַשְּׂעִירִ֑ם וְהֶעֱמִ֤יד אֹתָם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

He shall take the two goats, and set them before Hashem at the door of the Tent of Meeting.

Sounds simple enough, but the...

Rabbi Barry Gelman's Blog

01/01/2021 01:55:17 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Face To Face

01/01/2021 09:48:49 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Everything is about to change. Yaakov is dying.

וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵי֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְיוֹסֵ֔ף הִנֵּ֥ה אָבִ֖יךָ חֹלֶ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֤י בָנָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה...Read more...

12/18/2020 01:54:24 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Synagogue and The Shop

12/18/2020 11:33:01 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I am not ready to say goodbye to Chanukah yet. 

Parshat Mikeitz is often read on Shabbat  Chanukah, so let’s begin (before we say goodbye to Chanukah) with a Halacha regarding when Shabbat and Chanukah coincide.

If one is confronted with the [simultaneous mitzvah] to light one’s household lamp [for...Read more...

12/11/2020 01:49:05 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

For The Commandment Is A Lamp, The Teaching Is A Light. Keeping Faith In The Torah

12/11/2020 11:02:57 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This week’s Sermon is sponsored by the Levy and Pokroy families in memory of Nat Levy - Natan ben Yechiel Halevi ob”m

Rabbi Solomon Luria (1510 – November 7, 1573)  known as the MaHarSHaL , was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim (decisors of Jewish law)...Read more...

12/04/2020 01:47:56 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Sun Rose For Yaakov...It Will Rise For Us

12/04/2020 11:00:51 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Rabbi Samson Raphels Hirsh has a problem with the prohibition against eating the Gid Hanashe, It is not a culinary objection, Rav Hirsh does not feel that the absence of the Gid Hanshe will have an adverse effect on his menu. His concern is far more fundamental than that.   

The Torah...

11/25/2020 01:46:43 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Getting To Gratitude

11/25/2020 11:31:36 AM Rabbi Barry Gelman

For some this may be a challenging Thanksgiving. Without the large family gatherings and with an altered national  mood due to the pandemic, it may be hard for some people to get to a state of gratitude.  

I would like to repackage a wonderful spiritual practice regarding prayer to help in this area.

The Talmud...

11/20/2020 01:44:56 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Life: It's A Thorny Issue

11/20/2020 08:26:30 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Syreeta Scott, owner of the salon Duafe, still wants to be at the top of the natural hair-care game. But now her post-COVID-19 dream includes investing and developing real estate. She bought the North Philly building where her salon is housed and is committed to providing fair housing for her tenants. “My dreams for myself now...Read more...

11/13/2020 01:43:44 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Living In Three Time Zones

11/13/2020 09:58:27 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

In memory of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Have you ever asked yourself what it means to live an outstanding or uncommon life?

Many of us have role models who we look to for inspiration. We read biographies of great people that provide insights into their life and motivate us to emulate them as best...Read more...

11/06/2020 01:42:36 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Don't Get Stuck!

11/06/2020 11:45:40 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This week’s sermon is sponsored by Naomi and Mike Levy and Family In memory of Larry Jaeger, Naomi Father,whose yahrzeit is this weekend.

We are in the midst of a trying time in this country. The election has shown that we are a divided country. The election has indicated that it is hard to change people’s...Read more...

10/23/2020 01:41:24 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman’re being a bigger blessing than you realize

10/23/2020 11:09:16 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman
I dedicate this Dvar Torah in the merit of a Refuah Shleimah for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

I got the most amazing email a few weeks ago from a president of a Congregation in a different city.

Hello Rabbi,

XXXXXXX is kind enough to forward your mailings to me.  You were so kind to give...Read more...

10/16/2020 01:40:14 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Leave An Impression

10/16/2020 09:59:49 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Are you dreaming differently these days. Recently there have been some articles reporting that the CORONAVIRUS pandemic is altering sleep patterns and  the way we dream.

Rabbi Moshe of Coucy (1200-1260) was not living through a pandemic, but he did have a very strange dream. It happened...Read more...

10/02/2020 01:38:30 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Potter's Sukkah

10/02/2020 10:56:02 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

In the days of the Talmud, potters and perhaps other shop keepers would live in a Sukkah, within a sukkah. They would live , eat their meals and conduct their personal life in the smaller sukkah, while the outer, larger sukkah was reserved for business  - selling their wares, etc.

This interesting setup...

09/27/2020 01:37:28 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Happy Yom Kippur? A Kol Nidrei Drasha

09/27/2020 11:48:39 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

 I came across these instructions given to non jews in terms of how to extend Yom Kippur greetings to Jewish friends.  “Your first inclination might be to wish your Jewish friends “Happy Yom Kippur!” because, after all, “Happy Hanukkah!” works. But heaven forbid, do not do this. Yom Kippur is...Read more...

09/27/2020 01:36:21 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Isolated But Never Alone

09/27/2020 11:04:46 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Back in April, families who lost loved ones fighting in the IDF expressed how hard it was to not be able to go to the  military cemetery. 

Sivan Rahav-Meir noted that these families lamented not being able to invite friends and relatives over.  

This is not the...

09/24/2020 01:35:36 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Let’s Talk About Dancing

09/24/2020 10:04:33 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Let’s talk about dancing. I am sure that dancing is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about this time of year and  Yom Kippur…Maybe we can change that.

Presumably we have all been engaged in Teshuvah  -  repentance for the last month. We have prayed, we have recited selichot,...Read more...

09/15/2020 12:21:48 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Regaining What Was Lost - A Rosh Hashanah Sermon - 5781

09/15/2020 12:13:41 PM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I want to let you in on a personal struggle of mine. Sometimes I feel that I do not know where to turn. COVID-19 has created a new paradigm for our and every other community with so many new needs, concerns and objectives, that sometimes I feel that it is too much. 

I wonder if any...

09/15/2020 12:20:10 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

God Desires Our Heart. A Rosh Hashanah Sermon - 5781

09/15/2020 12:09:29 PM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the creation of the world. We declare it in the Rosh Hashana davening - Hayom Harat Olam - today the world was created. This year, this phrase takes on new meaning.  Looking around, it certainly feels like a new world. There is so much that is...Read more...

09/11/2020 12:19:20 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Gathering In Spirit When We Can't Gather In Person

09/11/2020 12:02:49 PM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

It is more than a bit strange that while we are all experiencing various levels of isolation that  one of the two Mitzvot found in the second of this week’s Parshiyot, Parshat Vayeilech, is the Mitzvah of Hakel - the obligation of all of Bnei Yisrael to gather in Jerusalem once every seven...Read more...

09/04/2020 12:05:42 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Cultivating Joy In The Service of God

09/04/2020 01:04:28 PM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

How would you characterize the Jewish people? 

Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg notes that the Jewish people have lots of labels - we are called “The People of the Book” - for example. But he proposes that the most authentic and descriptive title for us should be אומה עליזה - the joyful nation...Read more...

08/27/2020 11:58:29 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Look Out Your Window And Be Thankful For Your Spork

08/27/2020 09:59:23 PM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I have been thinking about gratitude lately. Mostly because our family is celebrating a simcha this weekend - Ami’s Bar Mitzvah -  and I am incredibly grateful for the many many blessings in my life.  But, I have also been thinking about gratitude because I do not think there...Read more...

08/21/2020 11:54:37 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

A Pinch of This and a Dash of That...Ingredients For The Perfect Community.

08/21/2020 09:38:43 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

 וְלֹֽא־תָקִ֥ים לְךָ֖ מַצֵּבָ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׂנֵ֖א יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃

Do not erect a stone pillar; for such the LORD your God detests.

Why does God hate a מַצֵּבָה - a...

08/07/2020 11:53:10 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Inherit and Create

08/07/2020 10:00:37 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

As Bnei Yisrael are about to enter the Land of Israel, Moshe presents a biting critique of their spiritual state. 

שְׁמַ֣ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אַתָּ֨ה עֹבֵ֤ר הַיּוֹם֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן לָבֹא֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת גּוֹיִ֔ם גְּדֹלִ֥ים...Read more...

07/31/2020 11:51:21 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Does God Have A Love Language?

07/31/2020 09:23:44 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Does the Torah have a Love Language?

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all...Read more...

07/24/2020 11:48:34 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

What's Next

07/24/2020 11:14:41 AM

Rabbi Barry Gelman

What’s Next?  

Made famous by President Jedd Bartlet, the fictional President of the West Wing, this quip is a good measure of how to view this period of time; the nine day and Tisha B’Av.

What does it mean to mourn? 

Let’s answer this question by comparing two different aspects of the Halacht of...Read more...

Tue, August 3 2021 25 Av 5781