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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.

Spiritual Trap Games

Teams have a tendency to look past an opponent when preparing for a following game against a stronger opponent, or have a letdown after beating a tough opponent. In sports, the mantra of, “One game at a time!” and “The season begins and ends today,” are ways of preventing the trap game mentality.

A great athlete is one who always invests maximal preparation and effort no matter the opponent and regardless of recent success or failure.

***

In this week’s parsha of Naso (the Torah’s longest!) we find G-d’s instruction to the Kohanim to bless the Jewish people, as follows:

“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them: May the Lord… Read More »

I'll Have Another

We’re not yet sure whether I’ll Have Another will indeed notch another win to earn the first Triple Crown in 34 years. But the journey from horseracing obscurity to national spotlight could not have been more unlikely. I’ll have another’s owner was a professor of philosophy and jockey Mario Gutierrez was a virtual unknown prior to his win at the Kentucky Derby.

When asked about his chances for the Belmont, Gutierrez did not take the bait. He just wants to focus on one race at a time and do his best.

In fact, it might be that very attitude of just focusing on the challenge at hand that can help an athlete win. If we get caught up in the long view, we might be overwhelmed. One step at a time… Read More »

Labor of Love

It was Simchat Torah, and the disciples of Rabbi Mendel of Horodok, many of whom had journeyed for weeks to spend the joyous festival with their Rebbe, were awaiting his entrance to the synagogue for the recital of the preliminary Atah Hareisah verses and the hakafot procession. Yet the Rebbe did not appear. Hours passed, and still Rabbi Mendel was secluded in his room.

Finally, they approached Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who had studied with Rabbi Mendel in Mezeritch under the tutelage of the Great Maggid. Perhaps Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who was revered and loved by Rabbi Mendel, would attempt what no other Chassid would dare: enter the Rebbe’s room and ask him to join his anxiously awaiting followers.

When Rabbi Schneur… Read More »

Can G-d Harm Himself?

Can G-d create a rock that He cannot lift? That is one of the most common refrains offered up when discussing the infinite nature of G-d.

I’ll offer it up in slightly different words: Can G-d do something that would harm himself?

***

In this week’s Parsha of Emor we are instructed about the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of G-d’s name. This mitzvah obligates a person to sacrifice his/her own life in certain circumstances, such as a test of faith. Throughout history the Jewish people have performed this mitzvah too often.

The Midrash teaches that any mitzvah that G-d instructs us to perform, He performs as well. After all, if He expects us to do these commandments then they must be precepts that He… Read More »

A Vote for Seniors

“Look thirty years younger!” the ad exclaims.  Anti-aging creams, hair-dyes, diets and better climates are all promoted to encourage us to prevent the inevitable aging of our bodies. As a society we seem to abhor old age.

“Many years impart wisdom,” we are taught in the book of Iyov (Job).  Yet this advice seems hard to come by in today’s society. More and more, the elderly are nudged out of the way to make room for the younger, more ‘vibrant’ segment of society.

Whether it’s in the workforce, in communal affairs, or family life – those with the longest of years often get the short end of the stick.

In this week’s double-Parsha of Acharei-Kedoshim we… Read More »

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