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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.

Endless Power Supply

For a more personal reference point of the miracle of Chanukah, there’s a viral message going around social media:

Imagine if your cell phone battery life only had 10% remaining and it lasted 8 days. Now you understand the miracle of the oil!

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The truth is that we all can relate to times when we wish we just had more juice to continue going. It might be a challenge in a relationship, the ability to persevere against depressing environments, or the strength of character to withstand personal temptations.

So, how can we replicate the miracle of Chanukah in our own lives?

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In the parsha Miketz, which we study this week, Yosef interprets Par’oh’s dreams and advises him. Par’oh, impressed with Yosef’s… Read More »

The Mosaic Coat of Chanukah

I am overwhelmed at the outpouring of support as over 125 donors helped us meet our matching campaign goal.  It is gratifying and humbling to see how many diverse people care about our sacred cause. Thank you is the least we can say!

What is most striking and remarkable is not the dollar amount. It is the variety of individuals, from all walks of life and places, that came out to support the Chabad Jewish Center.

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This week’s parsha, Vayeshev talks about the famous story of Yosef. The dreamer and outcast is despised by his brothers, who sell him into slavery.  After numerous challenges, he becomes the viceroy of Egypt and his dreams are realized, literally.

Why is Yosef described by the multi-colored tunic that his… Read More »

Appeasement or Resistance?

Israel wants a seat on the UN Security Council.

President-elect Trump has selected a stalwart Israel advocate to be his Ambassador to Israel.

Are these developments good for Israel? Are they advances for the future of the Jewish people?

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An interesting passage in the Midrash blames Yaakov for reaching out to his brother Esav (Esau).  This week’s parsha, Vayishlach, opens with Yaakov sending messengers and gifts to Esav, who was marching forward with 400 armed men, some 36 years after he pledged to kill his brother.  The encounter concluded without negative effects for Yaakov.  Nonetheless, the Midrash suggests that Yaakov should have avoided it altogether.

This is comparable to a robber sleeping by the wayside… Read More »

Healthy Jealousy

Virtually all humans suffer from the temptations of jealousy.  To not be jealous is to not be interested in a better life. Of course, the definition of better can vary from person to person and from day to day.

Yet, we all recognize that jealousy is an unhealthy trait. It’s something the Torah warns us strongly about in the Ten Commandments. You’ve certainly heard stories – or shared experiences – where jealousy was the catalyst for something much worse. It’s a slippery slope. Even if you don’t act upon it, your jealousy will lead you into a moral and emotional descent.

Judaism has long preached that we must embrace the lot we have been given by Almighty G-d. “Who is rich? One who is… Read More »

A Yiddishe Mamma

Morris and Miriam, both a bit stubborn, were involved in a petty argument, both of them unwilling to admit they might be in error.

"I'll admit I'm wrong," Miriam told her husband in a conciliatory attempt, "if you'll admit I'm right."

Morris agreed and, like a gentleman, insisted she go first.

"I'm wrong," Miriam said.

With a twinkle in his eye, Morris responded, "You're right!"

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Dialogue between spouses is as ancient as humanity itself.  Yet, in this week’s parsha, Toldot, we find a startling lack of such dialogue.  When Rivka (Rebecca) hears that her husband Yitzchak (Isaac) is planning to bless their oldest son Eisav (Esau), she immediately devises a plan to… Read More »

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