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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Defending Criminals

It’s a mitzvah to love our fellow.  Even someone who we do not know.

But, how would you feel if someone asked you to become pen pals with a convicted criminal? What about a murderer?


In parashat Vayeira, read this week, we learn of an entire metropolis of such people.  S’dom and Amorah (Sodom and Gomorah) were filled with very wicked inhabitants. G-d tells Avraham that He will destroy the 5-city metropolis due to their deplorable behavior.

Avraham has been G-d’s primary advocate throughout his life. At great personal risk he promoted faith in one invisible and infinite Creator. He fought the villain Nimrod and parted ways with his nephew when Lot’s conduct was incompatible with his own moral standar… Read More »

Are you perfect?

Perfection is a relative term. On a test, it usually is marked as 100%.  In baseball, pitching a perfect game means not allowing a baserunner. We tell our children that practice makes perfect. But we also say, “No one’s perfect.” And quotes abound about perfection being elusive. “Real people aren’t perfect and perfect people aren’t real.”

It’s comforting to know that even a perfect game is usually not perfect. After all, the pitcher can toss a lot of balls and it’s still considered a perfect game is no opponents reach base.   We strive to be the best we can. But we don’t delude ourselves into thinking we will actually achieve perfection.

In this week’s parsha… Read More »

Heroism in Israel

Adi Eshet is an Israeli who lives in Driggs, Idaho. He is currently visiting family and friends in Israel and was attacked this Sunday while he tried to save the life of a 15-year-old girl. Adi says, "I was driving my car and I saw a teenage girl screaming from the top of her lungs. Obviously I pulled over and got out of the car to see what's going on. As I came around the car to the sidewalk... The girl was gone...

I came back to the car and a [Palestinian] guy with a knife in his hand about 6 feet away was coming toward me. I tried to kick him and got stabbed in the leg then he tried to stab me again. I blocked him with my hand and although I did get stabbed I grabbed his wrist and then choked him down to the ground. It took a minut… Read More »

Constant Connect

Can a fish survive out of water? Can a doctor survive without her medical devices? Can a carpenter survive without his hammer? Can a person survive without food?

It depends, you might say, on what survive means. A fish needs water. Without food humans will die.

But without a hammer, a carpenter might lose some of his identity but he won’t disappear.

If a person needs – among other things – food and oxygen to survive, what does a soul needs in order to live?


In the opening parsha of the Torah, Bereishit, we are taught about the wonderful universe we live in. G-d created everything. By the Torah’s description of creation, G-d employed speech to bring about physical existence. From the stars to the grasshoppers… Read More »

Write it Down!

Often, when I am pondering something significant, I will tell myself, “That’s a great idea.  I should explore it further when I have some time.”

Usually, however, my subsequent attempts to research the subject are met with scant and subpar results (that is, if I even remember to follow up).  Sometimes, the only way I’m able to tap into the excitement and richness of the initial inspiration is if I act upon it immediately.  If I quickly start developing the idea, it will frequently bear fruit.

One way to make sure the idea does not disappear into the abyss is by discussing it with someone or committing it to writing ASAP.  If it gets stale, it will usually just collect dust – at best.

Whic… Read More »

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