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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.

Team of One

The loaded mini-van pulled in to the only remaining campsite. Four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed to gather firewood, while the girls and their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.

 A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters' father, "That, sir, is some display of teamwork."

The father replied, "I have a system. No one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up.”

***

In G-d’s instruction to the Jewish people to build the Mishkan, the traveling Sanctuary, He establishes a team of artisans led by Bezalel and Oholiav. This team crafted the edifice and vessels of the Mishkan as related in this week’s… Read More »

One-Way Love

This week’s news that the IBM supercomputer named Watson has beaten two Jeopardy champions in a three-night marathon has ushered in a new era in computing where machines will increasingly be able to learn and understand what humans are really asking them for. As a New York times blog states, this is a significant step because the show employs “format and clues that rely on subtle meanings, puns, and riddles; something humans excel at and computers do not.”

So, should we kiss our own brains goodbye? Are we soon to be dominated by computer overlords?

I am reminded of the excitement when virtual pets became… reality. If you are allergic to cats, no problem. Just sign up for a digital cat and you can… Read More »

Getting Carried Away

I'm in New York with my two oldest sons, enjoying the freezing weather.  I use the term enjoying because I am here to celebrate my brother's wedding and welcome a lovely young lady to our family.

Before I left home, my younger son said to me, "Tatty, please remember us when you are at the wedding in New York."  I gave the standard "Of course!" response, gave him a kiss and was on my way.  But afterwards I began to think about it some more.  It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about my duties as a father.

***

The Kohen Gadol (High Preist) is commanded to wear a robe with bells sewn onto its hem, so that "its sound shall be heard when he enters into the Holy before… Read More »

Where's Waldo?

In the famous series of Where’s Waldo? books, there are some pages in which Waldo is camouflaged amongst a host of fake Waldos. The goal is to find the real Waldo, of which there is only one.

I am amazed at the vista. Observed from a distance, I am certain that there really are many Waldos. But upon closer inspection each Waldo is unique.

These puzzles are more challenging, but ultimately more rewarding. It’s a much greater accomplishment and satisfaction when I realize that they play a role in a collective scene, but truly have their individual identity.

***

This past Sunday Chabad women from around the globe gathered for the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos. To many outsiders these… Read More »

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