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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.

Necessary Compromise?

It’s that time of year again. My wife is in New York attending the Chabad-Lubavitch International Shluchos Conference – and I am home tending to five lovely children.

I have always appreciated the opportunity to spend more time with my kids when Esther is away for her annual recharge. And I am also learning to appreciate the sheer challenge of spending more time with my children in the absence of their mother.

Many of my colleagues contend that this week is Chabad Rabbis’ annual “Wife Appreciation Week” – and I’m certainly an enthusiastic member of the chorus.

Due to my current single-parent mode, I inevitably get less Rabbinic work done this week than others. I’ve been told… Read More »

Coercion?

I received a great deal of nachas from a recent phone call. A former community member, who now lives elsewhere, called to tell me about his experience on a cruise to Antarctica. He excitedly informed that he met Jews from all over. 

“In fact,” he tells me, “One elderly gentleman told me that he had never put on tefillin. I immediately offered him to join me in my cabin and do the mitzvah with my tefillin. After initially declining, he agreed (thanks to the urging of his wife). I helped him wrap tefillin and congratulated him on the deed.

“But it wasn’t over yet. The next day, he came knocking on my door and I helped him don phylacteries again. Before parting ways, I told… Read More »

True Thanks

In reading this week’s Torah portion of Beshalach, I am fascinated at the Song of Praise that the Jewish people offered G-d upon the splitting of the sea. It is a remarkable expression of gratitude.

The question that lingers within me is, “Why only then?” Why did the Jews not offer thanksgiving to the Almighty as soon as they left the borders of Egypt?

In hindsight, we can argue that Pharaoh would chase after them. Thus their freedom was not truly secured until after the Egyptian army drowned at sea.

Yet, certainly they had no way of knowing all that. So why didn’t they acknowledge G-d’s kindness immediately?

***

Rabbi Herbert Weiner, author of Nine-and-a-Half Mystics, once asked the Rebbe… Read More »

Seize the Opportunity!

This past Wednesday, I received a frantic phone call from a lady on the East Coast, begging me to rush to the hospital in Meridian to visit her father. His health was quickly deteriorating and doctors gave him only a few hours. She would try to get on the next flight out, but asked me to plead with her father – who insisted that he was ready to die – to take whatever measures were available to keep him alive, at least until she arrived.

When I got to the hospital, the doctors were meeting to discuss what could be done.  Not much, they concluded. They suggested I rush into his room in the critical care unit, as he was becoming agitated. Frankly, I had never met this man before and was unsure what to expect.… Read More »

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