Rabbi Gelman's Blog
03/08/2017 08:32:12 AM
The Torah says, “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lowermost part of the mount” (Exodus 19:17). Rabbi Avdimi bar Ḥama bar Ḥasa said: the Jewish people actually stood beneath the mountain, and the verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, overturned the mountain above the Jews like a tub, and said to them: If you accept the Torah, excellent,...Read more...
03/08/2017 08:31:13 AM
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12/15/2016 10:32:26 AM
This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 12/11/16.
12/07/2016 01:26:55 PM
I read a book review this week entitled What Makes A Great Parish. The book being reviewed is called Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive. One of the four practices captured my attention. According to the author of the book great parishes “foster spiritual maturity”.
I love that term - spiritual...Read more...
11/18/2016 09:24:10 AM
I have been asked this week by a number of people about the uptick in reports of hate crimes and acts of bigotry.
First, it is important to acknowledge that President elect Trump has told his supporters to stop the attacks. He said: "I am so saddened to hear that, and I say, 'Stop it. If it -- if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the...Read more...
10/28/2015 11:34:12 AM
It’s been a long time since I wrote about spending on Simchas. The issue was raised again in a recent article suggesting a correlation between spending money on weddings and divorce rates. “Francis and Mialon surveyed more than 3,000 people — all of whom have been married just once — and found that across income levels the more you dish out on the Big Day, the...Read more...
10/10/2015 08:25:50 PM
We just blessed the new month of Cheshvan and we just read Parshat Bereishit. This is a good time to talk about new beginnings.
We also happen to have a large number of families who have just been blessed with a child and a number of expecting families.
10/09/2015 02:38:42 PM
How do you feel today? Of course, it is yom tov, RH, a joyous day, serious, yet joyous. On the other hand - all is not the same as it was last year.
Last year when we said U’netaneh Tokef - and asked who will live and who will die - what we did think life...Read more...
10/07/2015 08:28:20 AM
Three Elements of Judaism - This sermon is based on an essay written by Rabbi Marc Angel with some additions and expansion of ideas by Rabbi Barry Gelman
Parshat Ha’azinu - 5776 - Sept. 26, 2015 - United Orthodox Synagogues
10/06/2015 10:34:09 PM
Shmini Atzeret is a tricky day. Technically speaking there are no more mitzvot left. No more lulav and etrog and no more sukkah. We only sit in the sukkah because we live outside the land of Israel. As far as the Torah is concerned, sukkot is over.
So what is Shmini...Read more...
10/03/2015 11:12:24 PM
I am not sure if we had to read Kohelet this morning. It has been suggested that we read Kohelet on Sukkot - Zman Simchateinu - the time of our rejoicing - to act as a balance against joy gone overboard. Coming on the heels of Yom Kippur , a day on which we act out our death, we are thrust into...Read more...
07/07/2015 04:52:37 PM
Sitting in shul last shabbat listening to the Torah reading, I began to reflect on the Parah
Adumah the red heifer used to purify a person after being deemed impure via contact with a
corpse. It is death that brings impurity and the Red Heifer that removes it.
Today, we do not have the capacity to apply the laws of the Red Heifer and consequently, we
cannot remove the impurity of death. Does this mean that the laws of the...Read more...
05/10/2015 02:38:20 PM
From time to time we should revisit the fundamental question of what it means to be a Jew. Of course, there is the normative aspect of being a Jew. A Jew is bound by the Mitzvot of the Torah.
One of the important aspects of teaching prospective converts is to make sure...Read more...
04/16/2015 09:02:24 AM
Rabbi Yehuda Amital was one of the most thoughtful and influential religious leaders of our time. He is also a Holocaust survivor. As today is Yom Hashoa, please take some time to read Rav Amital's account of religious life before and after the Shoah.
Rabbi Yehuda Amital (Klein) was born in 1924 in Transylvania, at the time part of Hungary. Following the Nazi occupation he was taken to a labor camp...Read more...
01/11/2015 12:14:37 PM
" I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive."
"But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close...Read more...
12/17/2014 03:58:11 PM
"How is it that Yosef, after living many years in Egypt, having attained a high and influential position in the house of an important Egyptian official, did not send his father even one message to inform him (that he was alive) and comfort him? Egypt is only six days' travel from Chevron, and respect for his father would have justified even a year's journey!" This shiur will analyze this famous question of Ramban based on the approach of Rav...Read more...
12/11/2014 04:28:04 PM
There are few opportunities to engage in pure Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests into our home). What I mean by pure Hachnasat Orchim is opportunity to welcome into our home people we do not know and who were not invited in advance.
Of course, there is a tremendous amount of hosting that we...Read more...
10/05/2014 07:39:50 AM
Two of the themes we focused on over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were:
1. Making life affirming decisions. This was suggested as a spiritual response to groups that celebrate death.
“We, all of...Read more...