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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.

Talking Dugri

In his address to the United Nation’s General Assembly today, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had some pointed words to share. While defending Israel’s right to exist and demanding recognition as a Jewish state, he also extended a hand in peace.

He said that it’s time to speak plainly and openly. In the Middle East, it’s called talking dugriDugri is Israeli slang (taken from Arabic!) for “straightforward.”  It means “telling it like it is” and not “beating around the bush.”

Netanyahu himself took a moment to share where he draws the courage to speak so proudly and forcefully to the United Nations. He spoke of a meeting he had with the Lubavitcher… Read More »

Turn the Lights On!

In these times of uncertainty it’s easy to be pessimistic and despondent. No one can seem to figure out the economy. Israel seems increasingly in peril. Jewish culture and identity appear to be in serious decline. Not to mention our personal struggles. How can we be excited?

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This Shabbat marks the eighteenth of Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement) and the birthday of the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Schneur Zalman, founder of the Chabad movement). Not coincidentally, they both were brought into the world on the day signifying life (the numeric value for Chai/Life is 18).

What type of energy did they bring with the advance of Chassidism?

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I am often asked what is the main… Read More »

Ten Years Later… Mission Accomplished?

When President George W. Bush stood on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 under the banner stating “Mission Accomplished,” it turned out to be a bit premature. The success of the war in Iraq is still hotly debated today.

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Ten years after September 11, 2001 we are left to reflect on the horrors of that tragic day. The lives lost, the families broken and the collective pain of our nation. Add to that the constant inconveniences, reminders and concerns that continue to affect us in airport security lines, job applications and our pocketbook.

If we look at the hard facts on the ground, it may be tempting to argue that we have lost. Yes, we finally got bin Laden, but ultimately hundreds of millions… Read More »

Should We Do Away with Monarchy?

The current upheavals in many countries make a strong case for democracy. But they also remind us of a mitzvah in this week’s Torah portion. We are commanded, “You shall set a king over you.” In our storied history this concept of a monarch has caused great concern, admiration and discord. Of course, that was all a long time ago. Now, a democratic government rules in the Holy Land.

In light of the great progress we have made, how should we view the Torah’s eternal command to “set a king” over ourselves? Isn’t the notion of a monarch archaic and regressive?

Certainly, Judaism rejects the common assumption of absolute control that is often associated with royalty. A cursory review of the… Read More »

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