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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.

Your Facebook Credit Score

It turns out that the (digital) company you keep can have a profound influence on your financial life.  Some lenders are now beginning to investigate your tweets and Facebook friends to learn more about your spending habits. Apparently, they are also judging you by your friends’ activities.  If your online acquaintances are delinquent or have accumulated too many DUIs – you may be denied a loan.

Many of us might consider it unfair for banks to withhold funds due to my neighbor’s unpaid bills.  Why should I suffer if my coworker’s birthday party was at Seven Eleven instead of the Hilton hotel?

Yet, some financial institutions argue that the information gleaned from your social media interactions is… Read More »

A Mature Focus

At the end of this week’s parsha Ki Tavo, Moshe – nearing the end of his life – reprimands the Jewish nation:

"You have seen all that the Lord did before your very eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, to all his servants, and to all his land; the great trials which your very eyes beheld and those great signs and wonders. Yet until this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.”

If Moshe attests to the fact that forty years prior the Jews saw the miracles in Egypt and the numerous wonders of G-d, why is he stating that they are incapable of knowing, seeing and hearing?

Let me put this in other words: If you were present when, for example, the Twin Towers were attacked… Read More »

Containing the Fire

Firefighters are currently battling almost 40 major fires in the Western USA.  In Idaho alone, five major fires are causing much destruction and concern.  For example, the Pony Complex Fire, located 12 miles northeast of Mountain Home, is now estimated at 144,000 acres and is only 40% contained. To put that in perspective, that is an area nearly three times the size of Boise.

The stated goal of firefighters and forestry officials is containment. No one believes we can eliminate wildfires. Nor is it likely that we will extinguish all the flames of these major forest fires. In fact, officials are hoping to contain the 111,000-acre Elk Complex Fire near Pine, Idaho by October 1.

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Sometimes we confront such powerful forces that… Read More »

The Annual Embassy


When Israeli consular workers declared a strike this past June – effectively shuttering consular services abroad – the Foreign Ministry had some advice: Find the nearest Chabad House.  Israelis traveling abroad should seek out the nearest Chabad center if they were in need of help.

My colleague, Rabbi Mordechai Levenhartz, in Kiev, Ukraine, said that the organization was happy to help out any Jew who needed assistance. “We can't issue visas, unfortunately, but we can provide travelers with a nice, warm meal, a comfortable place to rest, and other assistance.”

It’s great to know that when you travel you have a place to call home.  In fact, in my international voyages I have drawn a strong sense of… Read More »

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