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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.

Lemons & Lemonade

We know how careful the Torah is to talk in a clean and positive language. Instead of referring to nonkosher animals as contaminated, the Torah refers to them as “not pure.”

Why then is this week’s (second) parsha called Metzorah – referring to a person who has been afflicted with a Biblical type of illness similar to leprosy? The metzorah is a person who has fallen to spiritual failure and is condemned to a process of ritual purity. The Talmud teaches that the cause for tzaraas is speaking ill of others (lashon harah). Why should we highlight this person’s failure by calling the entire Torah portion in his name?

Looking at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty – the Rebbe once offered the… Read More »

Riddles

The Internet has been in knots this week trying to figure out a birthday math riddle.

The question, taken from a high school math test in Singapore, goes like this:

Albert and Bernard just met Cheryl. “When’s your birthday?” Albert asked Cheryl.

Cheryl thought a second and said, “I’m not going to tell you, but I’ll give you some clues.” She wrote down a list of 10 dates:

May 15, May 16, May 19

June 17, June 18

July 14, July 16

August 14, August 15, August 17

“My birthday is one of these,” she said.

Then Cheryl whispered in Albert’s ear the month — and only the month — of her birthday. To Bernard, she whispered the day, and only the day.

“Can you figure… Read More »

It's All in the Details

Most of us who are not Torah buffs are nonetheless familiar with the Splitting of the Sea. The Jews walked on dry land and the Egyptian army drowned.

We celebrate this ‘complete freedom’ on the final days of Pesach. It was on the 21st of Nissan – the seventh day of Passover – when this miracle occurred.  But it’s not just on Pesach that we remember the Splitting of the Sea. In fact, a significant part of our daily prayers talks about the Splitting of the Sea. On Shabbat and Festivals we add additional prayers about the Splitting of the Sea.

Why is this miracle so central in Jewish tradition? Is it simply because it was the final nail in the coffin on our oppressors?

I believe not.  If it were… Read More »

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