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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Forgiveness is Not Enough

In one of the most dramatic stories in the Torah, Yosef (Joseph) reveals that the viceroy of Egypt is not some mean-spirited Egyptian, but rather their own brother, whom they had sold into slavery.

His brothers, reeling from shock, wondered what their fate would be. Yosef reassured them:

But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that G-d sent me before you. And G-d sent me before you to make for you a remnant in the land, and to preserve it for you for a great deliverance.  And now, you did not send me here, but G-d, and He made me a father to Pharaoh, a lord over all his household, and a ruler over the entire land of Egypt.

What’s remarkable about this statement is th… Read More »

Over the Top!

Chanukah is most widely celebrated by kindling the menorah (chanukiah). This commemorates the miracle of the oil lasting eight days instead of one.

The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) teaches us how this mitzvah of kindling the menorah should be performed:

The mitzvah of Chanukah is to kindle one light per household (each night of Chanukah); Mehadrin (those who eagerly pursue mitzvos) kindle a light for every member of the household; Mehadrin min hamehadrin (those who are even more eager than the standard mehadrin)... kindle one on the first day, and on each following night increase the number of lights by one.

Amazingly, while with regard to many commandments – even Biblical ones – we find varying degrees of meticulousness, when it com… Read More »

No Middle Ground

I’ll admit it. I don’t have a green thumb.

I look with pride at my small garden patch, knowing it pales in comparison to others. No matter. It is 100% bigger than what we had before. And it’s the product of our hard labor.

As I toil in G-d’s earth, I have learned many lessons. Chief amongst them: If you have empty space, you will have weeds.  I’ve got two choices: plant something else, which will prevent the growth of weeds, or resign myself to constantly pull out the weeds.

What’s amazing is that there is no middle ground. It’s either a beautiful flower – or weeds. Why can’t I just have my bare earth without weeds popping up by the dozen?


When Yosef (Joseph) was sold into … Read More »

Coming Home

The craze has begun.

My inbox and mailbox are both stuffed with ads and marketing material telling me just how much I need the latest invention and the coolest gadget.

In the greatest irony possible, the day after – or is it already the day of? – Americans profess their fealty to the sacred virtue of thankfulness for what we have, we begin in earnest the campaign to focus on what we don’t have.

Yes, I too take advantage of the sales, but that’s not the point. It’s the focus on what we have not. It’s the massive consumerist effort to convince me that I need something that I never knew existed, cannot afford and may never use.

Put in better perspective, the purpose of marketing a product that I don&rsqu… Read More »

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