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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.

War of Attrition

John Isner did not stand a chance in his tennis match against unseeded Thiemo de Bakker. That’s because the day before he won the longest tennis match in history, one that took more than eleven hours over three days. In his own words, “I've never been this exhausted before…I didn't really have a chance.”

So, was it worth it?

Well, that depends on the goal. If the purpose is to enter the history books – then yes it was. But if the ultimate goal is to prevail then we need to conserve our energy to win match after match – something Isner’s first match denied him.

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In this week’s Parsha of Balak, the non-Jewish prophet Bilaam attempts to curse the Jewish people, but eventually blesses… Read More »

Mindless

I spent this past Tuesday with tens of thousands of Jews who had gathered in New York in observance of the 16th yarzheit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn of Blessed Memory.

It was truly surreal to see Jews from all walks of life and from the four corners of the world wait for a couple hours in the hot sun to spend a couple moments of prayer at the Rebbe’s gravesite.

But what struck me most was the comment of a non-Jew witnessing the event. As I was walking down the block, a police officer stopped me. He said, “Sir, I’ve been stationed here for a few hours now and I’m still trying to understand what’s going on. I already asked someone and was told that people are waiting in… Read More »

Greener Pastures

After much speculation, the news is finally in: Boise State University will be joining the Mountain West Conference. Sports pundits had long debated whether this would happen and whether it was the right move for the Broncos. Is the grass really greener – or in this case bluer – on the other side?

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In this week’s Parsha of Korach we find a populist fighting for the people. Or at least that’s the pretense. Korach claims that the entire congregation is holy and Moshe and Aharon should not take the leadership positions for themselves. Ultimately, Korach true colors merge when he requests leadership for himself.

We’ve seen many a person follow this path.

The Talmud tells us that Korach was… Read More »

The Thinking Jew

Have you ever tried tying a string around your finger to remember something? This age-old method has proven helpful to many people.

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The mitzvah of Tzitzis, wearing fringes on a four-cornered garment, is taught in this week’s Torah portion of Shelach. The Torah tells us the significance of this mitzvah, as follows:

“This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray.”

[The commentaries are replete with explanations of why the Tzitzis serve as a reminder of all 613 commandments of the Torah. We’ll leave that for another time.]

So if we are… Read More »

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