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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.

True Darkness

You might argue that if the ancient Egyptians would have discovered electricity they may have avoided the suffering of the ninth plague of darkness. This week’s parsha Bo describes a week of darkness in Egypt as the second-to-final plague that befell Egypt and led to the exodus of the Jewish people.

But the Midrash tells us, “There were six days of darkness... during the first three, "a man saw not his fellow"; during the last three days, he who sat could not stand up, he who stood could not sit down, and he who was lying down could not raise himself upright.”

So maybe electric lighting would not have sufficed.  But, a deeper examination of this plague might make the debate a moot point.

The… Read More »

Outsmarting Houdini

My seven-year-old son once bought a magic trick set. He was so proud of the few tricks that he had mastered. He was longing for the opportunity to show off these tricks (after subjecting the family to incessant renditions). He had ample chance to do so and enjoyed his new hobby. Until he met his match. When he went to a ‘real’ magic show, his heart sunk. “I can never do those types of tricks.”

It’s one thing to impress family and friends. But to impress the pros is a different league altogether.

***

When Moshe and Aharon brought forth the first few miracles and plagues in Egypt, Paroh was not impressed.

The Midrash recounts that Pharaoh began to mock them and crow at them like a cock, saying to… Read More »

Credit Cards: Good or Bad?

With the current economic slump affecting many Americans, the debate on credit cards has reached a crescendo. On the one hand, now – more than ever – people are dependent on credit to get by. On the other hand, a strong argument can be made against acquiring debt in a perilous economic period.

Media reports indicate a strong uptick in debit card use, and a decline in credit card use.

I’m no financial advisor, so I’ll let the experts guide you on what’s best for your finances.

But the issue deserves attention at least in theory. Would a bank offer  you credit if there was no money to be made? That would be a great mitzvah, but a poor business decision.

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In this week’s parsha… Read More »

Politics as Usual?

With the Iowa caucuses behind us and the primary season upon us, Americans begin to tune in to the elections ahead. Looking at the polls can be a dizzying experience. Analyzing candidates’ positions might be more dizzying, some may argue.

All the hype leads us to wonder: Is there more that unites us than divides us?

And, by extension, we can ask the same of ourselves as Jews. We are famous for our diverse opinions. Does this virtue guarantee us a continuous vibrant status, or does it perhaps portray our ultimate demise?

Recent events in Israel only highlight the urgency of this question. (See here for a statement by Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters).

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I’ll leave the politics to politicians, but… Read More »

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