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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.

Write it Down!

Often, when I am pondering something significant, I will tell myself, “That’s a great idea. I should explore it further when I have some time.”

Usually, however, my subsequent attempts to research the subject are met with scant and subpar results (that is, if I even remember to follow up). Sometimes, the only way I’m able to tap into the excitement and richness of the initial inspiration is if I act upon it immediately. If I quickly start developing the idea, it will frequently bear fruit.

One way to make sure the idea does not disappear into the abyss is by discussing it with someone or committing it to writing ASAP. If it gets stale, it will usually just collect dust – at best.

Which… Read More »

E Unum Pluribus

One of the great virtues of America dates back to its founding. Thirteen colonies joined together to form the union that is the United States of America. Thus declares the Latin motto on our ten-cent pieces: E pluribus unum, translated as “Out of many, one.”

Throughout the years this oneness has grown to include many others. 183 years later the 50th state, Hawaii, joined the union. Thousands upon thousands arrived on America’s shores from other countries, embracing America’s values and seeking its opportunities. And, no doubt, many more will come.

The beauty of America is the joining together of so many different individuals toward a common goal.

What happens, I wonder, when an American leaves America… Read More »

Near, Yet Very Far

In 1998 I was traveling through southern Africa with a group of friends. Google Maps did not yet exist; GPS was not widespread and it likely would be of little use on Malawi’s roads. We were using an old-fashioned map to get from place to place. (Do they still print those?)

At one point in our journey we were heading toward the town of Monkey Bay on beautiful Lake Malawi. I recall heading out on a Friday morning with the goal of reaching Monkey Bay in time for Shabbat. According to our map, we had two options. One was with a so-called major highway (i.e. paved road) that would be over 200 kilometers. The second was a minor arterial (i.e. dirt road) traversing about 125 kilometers. We figured it would be nice to see… Read More »

Knee Jerk Praise

Sometimes, when attending or viewing a ballgame it’s difficult to assess exactly what’s happening on the field. Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear when something favorable occurs to the team I support. The field might be too crowded to decipher exactly what happened, but I’m certain that my team has control of the ball. Turns out it was a fumble recovery in our favor. My excitement and cheering began before I even knew what had transpired.

In fact, I might need to wait for the announcer, the instant replay or a friend’s explanation to figure out what really occurred. No matter. I’m cheering because I sense something went right for my team.

I may not know why I’m on board, but I amRead More »

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