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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Testing Grounds

My friend and colleague, Rabbi Dov Greenberg, recently provided a testing ground for the hyped (and somewhat controversial) Google Glass.  He offered a snapshot of Google’s new eyewear at his tefillin stand at Stanford University.

The invitation to experience a new outlook was twofold: A view into the future as well as an angle into the soul. Indeed, while tinkering with a piece of plastic and metal, participants were able to test the strings of the spirit.

But, what about someone who already owned a (highly sought after, beta version of) Google Glass? To the veteran, there is no gain of discovery.


In the parsha of Re’eh that we read this week, the Torah warns us not to fall prey to the imagination and trickery of a… Read More »

Lip Service?

Unfortunately, we have been witness in the last few weeks to several transportation disasters.  First it was the Aisana flight that crashed-landed at San Francisco airport, followed by the Southwest rough landing at La Guardia. This week we heard the tragic news of a train crash in Spain with about 80 casualties.

In all these instances, government officials, transportation experts, journalists and the public will investigate the cause.

One thing is certain: somehow, something went wrong in each case. It may have been low or high speed, malfunctioning gear, human error or the weather. But something caused things to go off track.


In this week’s parsha Eikev we learn about the mitzvah to pray to G-d. Actually, the Torah me… Read More »

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

One of the outings at Camp Gan Israel of Boise is the Wahooz Family Fun Center. Amongst the many activities and attractions are various arcade games, which seem to be a highlight for children (and adults) of all ages.  The most popular games provide tickets – redeemable for prizes – in return of a good score.

The first time my son was old enough to grasp what these games were, he had a great complaint against the machines.  “Why is it,” he questioned, “that sometimes the machine gives a lot of tickets and sometimes just a few, or none at all?!”

I explained that the machines produce tickets based on performance.  If you do well, you’ll get a lot of tickets.  “But,” m… Read More »

Our Greatest Cheerleader

Parenting is a very rewarding privilege. But it’s also challenging.

Sometimes, when my son wants something that is not healthy for him, I need to say no. The way he sees it, I am spitefully harming him. The way I – and hopefully mature adults – see it, I am lovingly and responsibly helping him.

My daughter may wish to swim alone in the pool.  From her viewpoint, I’m downright nasty when I say no.  In truth, it would be hateful and reckless for me to permit any young girl, let alone my daughter, to swim alone.


In this week’s parsha, Devarim, we read the beginning of Moshe’s month-long rebuke of the Jewish people at the conclusion of his life.

He chastises them that, “You said, &lsq… Read More »

No Downside

Some good things also have a downside.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July we feel blessed and privileged to live in the United States of America. It is truly a remarkable country, built on the solid foundations of liberty and equality.  But living in a democracy does not guarantee positive results. Just look across the Atlantic at Egypt. Or look back in history at the Greeks and Romans. The inventors of democracy would never stack up against modern democracies. A democracy can only be as strong – and virtuous – as the people and culture standing behind it.


In the first of this week’s two parshiyot of Matot-Mas’ei, the Torah discusses the laws of vows. As a rule, “If a man makes a vow to the Lord or … Read More »

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