Rabbi's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's blog features his Dvar Torah (Torah lesson) column from the weekly E-TORAH, ocassional musings and other articles that he authors from time to time.
Your comments are welcome.

The Fifth Son

The Midrash tells how, one day, a lamb ran away from the flock under Moses' care. Moses chased after it, until it came to a spring and began to drink. When Moses reached the lamb he cried: "Oh, I did not know that you were thirsty!" He cradled the runaway lamb in his arms and carried it to the flock. Said the Almighty: "You are merciful in tending a lost sheep - you will tend My flock, the people of Israel."

This was indeed the defining mark of leadership. Although Moses was a great prophet and the conveyor of Torah to the Jewish people, his greatest moment may have been his refusal to abandon the Jewish people after the sin of the Golden Calf. Most leaders would have been disgusted with such a severe act of betray… Read More »

A Heart of Stone

The Book of Leviticus, which we begin reading this week, is replete with laws pertaining to the Temple service.  In fact, many refer to it as Torat Kohanim, the law of the priests, as it describes in detail the sacrifices and rites performed in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple that stood in Jerusalem).

One of the interesting observations about the korbanot (sacrifices) is that sacrifices were offered from various items.  Offerings included animals, flour, oil, wine, and even salt. In fact, the Torah commands that salt must accompany every offering.

In Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, we are taught that these offerings represent the Four Kingdoms in this world, namely the inanimate, plant, animal and human … Read More »

Can Congress be Right?

These days even the suggestion that Congress can get it right might seem ludicrous to many. The squabbling over procedure and the seemingly endless delays suggest we are in need of a major overhaul. I will leave it for the pundits to determine what “right” is and whether our legislature can indeed get it right.

For Jews we have been looking to get congress right for many centuries.

And in this week’s double Torah portions of Vayakhel and Pekudei, we are given the Divine recipe for getting it right. What we are searching for is not the legal code of Congress, but rather a congress (assembly) with our Creator. We often struggle with the challenge of merging with an infinite G-d. How can we have a meaningful, pene… Read More »

A Gari Moment

The Jews had just committed a grave sin. Less than six weeks after experiencing their Creator at Sinai, the Jewish people worshipped a golden calf. Moshe their leader had been studying the Torah with G-d on top of Mt. Sinai and descended the mountain with two tablets of stone in his hands. Prepared to deliver the Ten Commandments to the people, he instead is witness the treasonous act. He immediately smashes the tablets and scolds the people. Eventually they repent and Moshe intercedes on their behalf and G-d forgives them. The sign of their pardon is the second set of tablets that G-d ultimately grants them.

While we can understand Moshe’s reluctance to give the unworthy Jews the Divine tablets, why did he destroy them? Wh… Read More »

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