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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.

My Greatest Accomplishment

When reading the life-story of Yitzchak (Isaac) in this week’s parsha Toldot, I am amazed to see that although we are familiar with Yitzchak from birth onwards, the Torah begins the narrative of his life from the point of his marriage to Rivka (Rebecca). To be sure, we know a fair amount about him from previous Torah portions. We know that he was circumcised at eight days old; that his parents threw a grand party when he was weaned; that his father almost sacrificed him at 37 years old; and that his father sought an extraordinary girl for him to marry. According to the Midrash, Yitzchak also spent three years in the Garden of Eden. But all of that is a detail in the tale of his parents. In his own right, we are introduced… Read More »

A Thanksgiving Meditation

I received this loevly Thanksgiving meditation from my colleague Rabbi Israel Rubin (Chabad of Albany, New York) and want to share it with you.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep…
you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…
you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with health, no illness…
you are more blessed than the millions who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or even the pangs of starvation…
you are ahead of… Read More »

Status Symbols

Whether it be Facebook or home décor, we are often engaged in some degree of promoting ourselves. On Twitter we let everyone know what we are up to, at the ballgame we demonstrate our allegiances and at home we show our true colors.

We are, on balance, a very self-obsessed society. Those of us that are lucky parents are sometimes yanked out of that constant self-promotion with the cry of a baby or the text message of a teen. We know our duty is primarily to others and we come second.

But how do we ensure that we don’t succumb to our egos the rest of the time? What can we do to faithfully serve our true purpose in life? After all, we can only sense our own hunger, our own angst and worry. For others we need to… Read More »

Joe Paterno: Right or Wrong?

America is stunned by the shocking revelations of tragic sexual abuses to minors that allegedly occurred at Penn State University. According to sworn grand jury testimony, several individuals at Penn State University, including now-former head football coach Joe Paterno, were informed of an alleged assault on a child on campus. But no one called the authorities.

Since that revelation, several arrests have been made. The board of trustees at Penn Sate subsequently fired the president of the university and the head football coach.

The facts are not all in yet, so there is still a lot to discover about who knew what and when. Everyone should be given the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.  But one thing is… Read More »

Breaking Free

Sometime this week humanity welcomed member number 7 billion to our planet. 

Mazal Tov!

The quick Mazal Tov refrain is the natural Jewish response. Yet, the politically correct retort might be much different. Some might even consider this terrible news.  After all, the ecosystem is already overburdened and the ozone layer may not be able to handle all the carbon emissions this baby will eventually produce.

Without venturing too far into the debate of procreation and natural resources – bottom line, the Torah considers human reproduction an obligation – I’d like to address the milestone itself.

We may never know which baby was number seven billion, but certainly he or she has a name. She may… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.