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.
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Loneliness: The Greatest Punishment

Ask anyone who has been wrongly accused of a crime whether they ever got their good reputation back. Their consistent responses underscore the great harm of slander and lashon harah (evil talk).

The headlines are fully of stories of financial impropriety, grand theft and cheating scandals – but the Talmud states, “Money can be reimbursed, but the damage of words is irreparable. Money is a person's property, but words hurt the person himself.” In truth, harming one’s reputation does not only cause one to suffer embarrassment and emotional injury. It also creates a spiral of ill feelings that domino from person to person – leaving a trail of destruction virtually impossible to track.

A lifetime may no… Read More »

Secret Service Agents

A Jew shuffles into Shul on Yom Kippur, and the Rabbi greets him. “Jack! I haven’t seen you the entire year. Where have you been? Don’t you count yourself as a member of the tribe? Are you not in the army of G-d?”

Jack whispers back, “Of course I am! I’m in the secret service.”


Recently, the U.S. Secret Service faced an embarrassing moment. It was called the biggest scandal in the history of the secret service. A group of agents were caught soliciting prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.

Apparently, what they did is technically not illegal in Colombia, but President Obama stated that he would be “very angry” if the reports were true.  According to Obama, those Secret Ser… Read More »

Double-Dip Recession?

Recent news on unemployment, housing and the market has given hope that the American economy is on its way out of the woods. As good as that news might be, it’s still no sure thing. Some naysayers are still predicting a double-dip recession.

One of the greatest challenges in a deep recession such as we have experienced is consumer confidence. It’s very difficult for people to plan on spending critical funds when the fear of a continued – or even worse – recession looms in their minds.

Imagine: If only we had a guarantee that the recession would end, consumer confidence would be up and that would have a vast positive impact on the economy. But, alas, none of us can tell the future, so we remain dependent on the vola… Read More »

Pesach by Any Other Name

Scrubbing the house clean as if the Queen were coming is the way I remember preparing for Pesach as a child. Somehow it seemed that every piece of dirt qualified as Chametz and that there was a verse in the Torah stating, “Thou shalt Spring Clean.”

True, getting rid of Chametz is a difficult task. With children, it is downright daunting. Consider the places kids love to “store” food: backpacks, in their clothing or desk drawers, inside Bob the Builder’s truck, stuck into the crevice of their “reserved spot” in the car, and so on. So, I can understand the neurotic approach to cleaning.

The challenge, however, is to recall the reason we purge our homes from Chametz. Leaven, the m… Read More »

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