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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 Sacred Calling

Albert Einstein reportedly once remarked, “If my theories prove correct, the Germans will claim me as a German, the French will say I am theirs and the Americans will call me their own. If my theories are incorrect, they will all say I am a Jew.”

Like it or not, a Jew is always looked upon as… a Jew.  Our nation possesses people of all races and sizes. But to the outside world we remain simply Jews.

Simply put, this means we cannot get away with doing something simply as Sarah or David. Everything we do carries weight as representatives of our people, our Torah and our tradition. Most importantly, we represent our G-d.

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This week’s parsha, Emor, reminds us of our holy calling: “You shall not… Read More »

Brutality & Beauty in Boston

We are at a loss for words. I cannot fathom the pain and suffering of those who have lost loved ones in the tragic act of terror at the Boston Marathon. Nor can I surmise how I would deal with the challenge of a lost limb or other disability. It is simply heart wrenching. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, friends and all those affected.

The obvious question on people’s minds is, “Why did they do this?! How could someone be so horrible?”

To crawl into the mind of a terrorist is virtually impossible. The gap is just too big. I will not attempt to probe such insanity, nor allow the appearance of justification.

But I will ask myself a frightful question: Are we as human beings capable of… Read More »

Pronouncement

This week a dear community member passed. I was with him and his family during his last moments. A short while later the hospice nurse showed up. The first question she asked me was, “Has he been pronounced dead?”

 I nodded.

Later, I thought about that exchange a bit more. Either he was still alive or he had passed. Why was it so critical to ask whether he was pronounced dead? Yes, it was vital to confirm that he was no longer alive. But the language we use is telling. We insist not only on confirming the status, but on the pronouncement.

Why the centrality of pronouncing it?

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In this week’s double parsha of Tazria-Metzora we learn the laws of tzaraas, a Biblical skin ailment which renders the person… Read More »

What to Say?

Do you sometimes wonder what to say to someone when hearing that they suffered a tragedy or are facing a challenge? Are you at a loss for words because you cannot imagine what they are going through? Do you want to say something but aren’t sure if it will help or harm?

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In this week’s parsha, Shemini, we learn of Aharon’s response to the heartbreaking news that two of his sons had perished. The Torah states simply, “And Aharon was silent.”

Because of his silence, explains the Midrash, Aharon merited that the Almighty spoke directly and exclusively to him.

A private audience with G-d is a pretty spectacular reward. What was so special about Aharon’s behavior that earned him this great honor?

Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.