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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.

A Mother’s Touch

As a single parent for nearly a week, I recognize the challenges that my children must have without their mother home. My wife, Esther, is in New York for the annual Shluchos Conference. And I can only imagine the hardships that children and parents in single-parent families endure.

Yes, I cooked dinner last night. Yes, I ferried my children to school, basketball practice, and the library. Yes, I bathed the little ones.

In fact, I do all of those things frequently. But this week it’s just me. My children had their father perform all those tasks (err, privileges). The point is not how many responsibilities I completed. Rather, it’s the fact that my children only receive my masculine energy this week.

Usually they benefit from… Read More »

Your Best Vote

Israel went to the polls this week and, as is often the case in Israel, the outcome was anything but assured. Indeed, there was a plentiful supply of surprises and we will probably not know the makeup of the new government for at least another week or two.

In all, 12 parties were elected to the 120-member Knesset. That is twelve out of 35 parties participating.

Israel’s electoral system is quite different than ours in America. The necessity of a governing coalition gives considerable power to small parties, and encourages niche parties to participate. As if we Jews needed an excuse to form another opinion!

This cycle, over 20 parties such as Ale Yarok (Green Leaf), whose platform is legalizing marijuana, did not meet the electoral… Read More »

A True Hero for All

The Twitterverse has been ablaze with talk of the Lennay Kekua hoax. A college-football star, Manti Te’o, had a girlfriend that was claimed to have suffered injuries in a car accident and later died from complications from leukemia. The story played out in the media as one of the great inspirations of the year… until it was discovered that she never existed. Her existence was pure fiction – a hoax of monstrous proportions. Many questions remain, most notably who knew what and when. Was Manti duped? Was he part of the hoax? Who is the real hero and who is the real villain?

While people seek answers, it jolts us into thinking about the people we idolize, admire or “follow.” Are they, in their real lives, the… Read More »

Once Upon a Time

The most famous stories all seem to begin with Once Upon a Time. And they all appear impossible to occur today.

The very words, “Once upon a time,” conjure the image of something legendary and perhaps beyond repetition.

But what if we could relive the ages long bygone? Would that be good or bad?

***

In this week’s parsha of Va’eirah the Jewish people begin the process that will lead to their liberation from Egyptian bondage. The first seven of the ten plagues befall Egypt, but the wicked Pharaoh is still reluctant to let the Jewish people go.

Eventually – after ten plagues – he urges them to leave.

This is a story so critical to Judaism that most of our Festivals revolve around it, most notably… Read More »

The Faithful Shepherd

In this week’s Parsha of Shemot we are introduced to Moshe (Moses), considered the greatest Jewish leader. But which qualities in particular illustrate the hallmark of leadership? Great leaders are known for their oratory skills (Moshe had none) or grassroots appeal (the Jews complained about Moshe’s intervention). If he was not popular and apparently lacked charisma, what leadership qualities did he possess?

Students of the Torah will surely point out that he was very pious and humble and therefore merited to have the quintessential relationship with our Creator. But how does that demonstrate his leadership skills?

The Zohar states that Moshe is referred to as the raaya meheimna of Israel, the faithful shepherd. A… Read More »

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