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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.

The Pottery Barn Rule

Going shopping with young children can be challenging. I often find myself telling them – incessantly – about the Pottery Barn Rule, “You break it, you own it.”

But recently I had the tables turned on me. When my son’s toy broke and he could not find a way to fix it, he came to me with the desperate plea to repair it. I attempted but could not succeed. At that point he cleverly turned to me and said, “I’m giving it to you. Now it’s yours and it’s broken. You need to fix it.”

***

In this week’s parsha Terumah, G-d instructs the Jewish people to donate thirteen items for the construction of the Mishkan, the mobile Sanctuary. From gold and copper to wood… Read More »

Occupy New York

“G-d helps those who help themselves,” the saying goes.

This week, I feel like I can use some of that help. You see, my wife Esther is in New York, participating in what might be termed the Jewish Occupy of the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. No, she is not there to make a political statement.  Esther is participating in the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries. Fellow Rebbetzins from Congo to Prague join together for a week of support, inspiration and learning.

While she is enjoying a much-deserved spiritual recharge, I am home with our six beautiful children. As I struggle with the tasks and responsibilities that she makes look effortless on a regular basis, I am amazed at… Read More »

The 99% and the 1%

One of the most famous commandments of the Torah is the instruction to observe the Sabbath. Shabbat is a sacred Jewish tradition that has--in some form--been embraced by most of the world.

But how does one observe Shabbat?

The Fourth Commandment is unique amongst the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appear – virtually word for word – in both Exodus Chapter 20 and Deuteronomy Chapter 5. One glaring change is the opening word of the Fourth Commandment. In Exodus we are commanded to, “Remember the Shabbat.” In Deuteronomy we are enjoined to, “Keep the Shabbat.”

Our Sages teach that at Sinai G-d pronounced both words simultaneously. The twofold instruction is due to the dual observance of… Read More »

Foresight = Action

After the Splitting of the Sea the newborn Jewish nation wanted to thank G-d for the great miracle and salvation. So they sang a song of praise, now famous as a part of our daily prayers known as Az Yashir. But the women were not satisfied with mere poetry and melody.  They felt that G-d deserved a true expression of exuberance. So they took their musical instruments and began to truly praise the L-rd in musical dance. As this week’s parsha Beshalach tells:

Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Where did the women get tambourines in middle of the desert?

According to the Midrash, “The righteous women of that… Read More »

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