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.

Ordinarily Extraordinary

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie recently shared this story:

In January 1987 a few days after our wedding, my wife and I together with my parents and younger sister had the great merit to visit Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn (wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe). She was quite elderly and frail at the time and passed away just over a year later. Her Yartzeit (day of passing) is this coming Monday (22 Shevat - 1 Feb).

After chatting for a few minutes she turned to my younger sister (who was ten years old at the time) and asked how she likes America. My mother, answering for her explained that she is really enjoying America because of the abundance of kosher chocolate and nosh, which at the time was difficult to get in South Africa. The Rebbetzin immed… Read More »

True Belief

If you believed that a tragic storm was coming tomorrow, would you leave your home? If you believed that you will receive $1 million if you travel to Antarctica next week, would you go there? If you believed a certain medication would heal your illness would you take it?

What define true belief? I believe this week’s parsha, Beshalach illustrates true belief.


After the Splitting of the Sea the newborn Jewish nation wanted to thank G-d for the great miracle and salvation. So they sang a song of praise, now famous as a part of our daily prayers known as Az Yashir.  But the women were not satisfied with mere poetry and melody.  They felt that G-d deserved a true expression of exuberance.  So they took their musical … Read More »

Stop Being a Perfectionist!

Just before G-d brought the final plague upon Egypt, He paused to instruct the Jewish people to observe two commandments.  He charged His people with the mitzvot of circumcision and the Pesach offering. In just seven weeks, they would be instructed to obey all 613 commandments of the Torah.

Why did Almighty G-d insist on this mitzvah at that moment? Why not wait a bit until the Jews would be a free people? What was the emergency? Shouldn’t He first free His people and then give them opportunities to worship Him. Wasn’t freeing His people the number one priority?

Our Sages teach that G-d did not wish the Jewish people to be bereft of mitzvot when they became free people. He therefore gave them these commandments, adorning … Read More »

Progressive Belief

Blood. Frogs. Lice. Wild Animals. Pestilence. Boils. Hail. Locust. Darkness. Death of the Firstborn.

Seven of these famous plagues, which G-d brought upon Egypt, are discussed in this week’s parsha Va’eirah.  They are pretty severe. It is evident from the text that G-d wanted to continue bringing these plagues even after Pharaoh had made up his mind to let the Jews go. The Almighty ‘hardened Pharaoh’s heart’ in order to ensure the Jews didn’t leave just yet. He still needed to bring a few more plagues.

G-d wasn’t simply out for vengeance. 

Nor was the reason G-d prolonged the suffering merely to finish punishing the Egyptians.

Rather, G-d’s mission was to teach.  Hashem wish… Read More »

Leaving My Comfort Zone

Our introduction to Moshe, the great leader of the Children of Israel, is in this week’s parsha, Shemot. Although Moshe is most often remembered for splitting the sea and receiving the Torah, I’d like to focus on how we are introduced to Moshe.  Other than his birth and the fact that he was raised in Pharaoh’s home, we know very little about Moshe’s early life. In fact, the Torah only records three events in Moshe’s life prior to his selection as leader and redeemer of the Jewish people. To be sure, more is found in the Talmud and Midrash, yet the Torah chooses to document only three episodes.

The first story in the Torah about Moshe is how Moshe killed an Egyptian. Yes, Moshe – the man who would sp… Read More »

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