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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.

Hurdles

Have you ever read the best-seller about Bill Gates called, “Dropping Out: Advice on How to Drop Out of College?” Or the new documentary on Albert Einstein, “Starting Out: My Story of How I Failed to Reach My Dreams?”

Of course you haven’t. These are fake titles and deceptively conceal the fact that both these individuals were highly successful.

When talking about Steve Jobs, usually we refer to his incredible success and wealth. When the conversation is about Martin Luther King, the advances in civil rights usually come to mind. When it’s Babe Ruth, prowess on the baseball field is high on the radar.

In each of these cases, the individuals were not given their accomplishments on a silver platter.… Read More »

Costumes

I recently learned about an Afghani that served as an interpreter for the American military. After a while, he was captured by Taliban-affiliated militiamen and told that he had a choice to either serve as a double agent or die.  He offered to acquiesce to their demands.  The next day, realizing his end was near if he stayed in Afghanistan, he donned a burka and – disguised as a woman – smuggled himself out of Afghanistan.  Only in the safety of England did he remove his cover.

That act of deception likely saved his life.  Yes, he misrepresented himself, but it was for valid cause.

So, where do we draw the line on deception? When is it acceptable? When have we bended the rules of representation too far?

Read More »

Make it Personal

What is your image of G-d?  Is He up in the Heavens looking down sternly at you?  Or perhaps you see Him as a loving G-d dressed in white waiting to embrace you?

 For many generations, G-d was a very impersonal G-d.  The Baal Shem Tov and the teachings of Chassidus changed that.  But, they weren't the originators of the idea of a personal G-d.

Abraham was.

In this week’s Torah portion when Avraham is giving instruction to his servant Eliezer to go find a wife for his son Yitzchak (Isaac), he declares: “And I will adjure you by the Lord, the G-d of the heaven and the G-d of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose midst I dwell.”

Yet, a… Read More »

Duty, Not Property

Yossi and Yankel are on a train across Poland, each on his way to meet a prospective bride on the other side of the country. Halfway there, Yankel turns to Yossi and says, "Forget about this whole marriage thing. I just don't like the idea." So he gets off at the next stop and makes his way back home.

Meanwhile, Yossi continues on and is met at the final destination by the mothers of the two prospective brides. When the mothers realize what has happened, they instantly begin to fight over whose daughter should wed this precious little boychik. "He's mine!" cries one. "Not on your life," cries the other, "He will marry my daughter!"

After bickering for a while, Yossi and the two mothers decide to go… Read More »

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