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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.

Missed Opportunities

On Wednesday, we celebrated a brit milah (circumcision) in the community. Kudos to the parents who flew out a mohel from Los Angeles so their son could properly enter the Covenant of Avraham. It’s not too often we are fortunate to have a brit milah in Boise, so it’s special to participate in this mitzvah. 

It’s also special because of who shows up.

One of the unique, spiritual guests at every brit milah is Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet).  In fact, it is because of his presence that we do not send formal invitations to a brit milah. Rather, we make an announcement notifying people about it.  This is because we do not want to put someone in the awkward position of turning down an invitation to an event… Read More »

The Most Secure Password Question

Google recently completed a study on password security questions.  Sometimes we forget a password (who can keep up with the numerous different types of passwords necessary for websites, devices and services?). To retrieve the password, we are often asked a security question. Some popular questions are, “Where were you born?” or “What’s your favorite food?”  The problem with these questions are threefold:

1)      We may not know the answer! Sometimes, we forget who our second-grade teacher was. We cannot be expected to retain information from long ago.

2)      Information changes. We may have correctly responded that pizza is our favorite food. But… Read More »

Identity-less or Identity-ful?

I remember vividly a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was full of interesting adventures, challenges and inspiration.

But the most difficult part was leaving the country. I recall arriving at the airport and being asked – before entering the airport – for my passport. It was quickly grabbed from my hands and someone ran off with it, while a horde of people – some official-looking, some quasi-official-looking and some of downright suspect appearance – converged upon me and grabbed my bags.  Within moments I was without a passport, without my belongings and in a country where I knew very little and did not speak the language very well. I was kind of terrified.

Truth be told it wasn’t as much… Read More »

Every vote Counts!

Great Britain went to the polls yesterday.

And all the pollsters got it wrong.

That’s the beauty of democracy. It’s actually the people that have the final say, not the pundits and prognosticators.

Every vote counts.                                           

***

In this week’s parsha, Emor, we find the instruction to count the 49 days of the Omer. From the second day of Pesach we count seven weeks, culminating on the 50th day – Shavuot.  The Torah insists that we count all 49 days, stating… Read More »

A Unifying Separation

We are still reeling with shock at the loss of life and devastation in Nepal.  The earthquake has claimed at least 6000 lives.  Many Israeli tourists frequent Nepal and there is still one missing Israeli.  Chabad of Nepal – the only Jewish organization in the country – has been at the forefront of the disaster relief efforts. President of Israel Reuven Rivlin hosted the airlifted children of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Chezki and Chani Lifshitz (no relation) of Kathmandu.

Click here to see the amazing relief work of Chabad in Nepal.

Click here to donate to the Chabad of Nepal Disaster Relief Fund.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, the families of the missing and the injured.

***

Nepal… Read More »

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