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.

Where is Casey Anthony?

The media is still speculating on the whereabouts of Casey Anthony who was recently acquitted of first-degree murder charges relating to the tragic death of her daughter Caylee. The court case garnered the attention of the American public for many months. And then it garnered the wrath of the American public. Many people are outraged at the perceived miscarriage of justice, wondering how a little girl could die without anyone being held responsible.

We may never know how Caylee Anthony died. And we may never know whether her mother is a cold-blooded murderer or an unfortunate psychopath. But we do see how the American public reacts to a tragedy. Tthe outrage of the American public is not necessarily properly direct… Read More »

Verbal Billboards

Have you ever made a promise that you never kept?  Probably, you figure, no one remembers anymore about my pledge, so I’m not hurting anyone if I don’t fulfill it.


The holy Baal Shem Tov once heard a disciple of his angrily tell a colleague, “ I will tear you apart like a fish.” It was in the heat of the moment and the argument was not severe or lasting. Nonetheless, the founder of the Chassidic movement asked his students to gather in a circle holding hands. He instructed them to close their eyes. Once he joined the circle by placing his hands on the students next to him – all the participants shouted in alarm. They were appalled at the sight they saw. The vision they were witness to was their colle… Read More »

It’s None of Your Business!

Hacking is no longer only a hobby for the tech-addicted or deluded. It has become so prevalent that a major newspaper is shuttering its presses due to a hacking scandal.

In the Facebook era, we seem to really live by the Talmudic dictum, “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours.” Any info I post is virtual public knowledge. I may think that I am tweeting something to one individual, but I better be careful– because the whole world may soon know about it.

So what should our attitude be toward an increasingly nosy world with increasingly easy access to our private information? Should we resign ourselves to the fact that we may one day see our own private info on a tabloid? Should we take every possi… Read More »

Defying Logic

One of the strangest rituals in Judaism is the process of ritual purification.  In this week's Parsha of Chukat we learn that if someone became ritually impure (by, for example, coming in contact with a dead body), s/he must undergo a purification process, namely receiving a sprinkling of a mixture that includes the ashes of a red heifer.

The practice is so bizarre that Shlomo/Solomon, the wisest of men, proclaimed that he failed to understand its meaning.  In fact, that is why it is termed a Chok (from the same etymology as the name of the Parsha, Chukat). A chok is a supra-rational law or observance.  Most mitzvot can be readily understood. But some are difficult,if not impossible, for the human mind to comprehend.  S… Read More »

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