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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.

How to Love

Imagine you were born in a different era, on a different continent. You’d likely be wearing some other clothing, speaking another language, eating other foods and enjoying other hobbies.  You’d still be you, but your experiences would be different.

Would you still love yourself?

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In this week’s parsha Kedoshim we come across the famous words of the Torah, “You shall love your fellow as yourself.” Many commentaries debate whether it is indeed possible to love someone as much as you love yourself. (For a deeper understanding of this mandate, see Tanya Chapter 32.)

However, the Torah is also instructing us to love our fellow in the same manner we love ourselves. In other words the Torah wants us to… Read More »

Looking Forward

It’s easy to bemoan the state of the Jewish people. If we choose to look at the glass as half-empty, there is plenty to consider.  From rampant intermarriage and assimilation on the spiritual front to horrific shootings in Kansas and papers distributed in Donetsk on the physical front.

At this time of year, many of us reflect upon these realities and remark, with a sigh, “G-d saved us from Egypt and He will save us from these threats as well.”  Pesach is a time that reminds us of the miraculous resilience of the Jewish people.  The Egyptians, Greeks and Babylonians are no longer here, but we Jews continue to survive.

It’s reassuring to view the past as a beacon of hope for the future. In short: we… Read More »

Are we still in Egypt?

The question may seem strange.  And for those of us familiar with the Pesach Haggadah, the answer seems explicit: “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the L-rd, our G-d, took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm.”

Done. We’re free. At least from Egypt.

The Talmud, however, suggests that today as well we must emerge from Egypt. Tractate Pesachim states, “In every generation one must look upon himself as if he personally had gone out of Egypt.”  Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad and author of Tanya, adds that this obligation is daily, and is indeed exercised via the recital of Shema.

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Historically, many Jews have interpreted this message to reflect… Read More »

The Waiting Game

Most people don’t like to play the waiting game.  We don’t want to see how the Russia/Ukraine spat plays out. We want it over now.  We don’t want to wait until a birthday or holiday for gifts. We want them now.  We cannot bear to wait until Pesach is over to eat that first bite of chametz.

Nowadays we are able to avoid much of the waiting game. I recently saw a YouTube video in which a chef developed a way to peel apples in 3 seconds.  Thanks to microwave ovens, instant messaging, Fedex and 3D printing – our wait time has gone down drastically. But so has our patience.

Instant results have become so much a part of our reality. And, in many ways, the shortened delays have brought marvelous… Read More »

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