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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.

A Night of Day

Our day starts at night.

It’s often a hassle to explain to those unfamiliar with the Jewish faith. All days on the Jewish calendar begin at nightfall.  Shabbat begins on Friday night.  Passover will begin on April 22 at sundown. It is, after all, a more accurate calendar that follows the universe in which we dwell.

However, in this week’s parsha, Tzav, we find an exception to this otherwise ironclad system.  The fire on the altar in the Bait Hamikdash remained burning all night. Sacrifices that had not yet been completed during the day were offered at night. In this respect, the night followed the day.

Why the exception? And, what is the lesson for us?

Day, filled with light, represents holiness. Night, with… Read More »

The Fish, The Fowl and The Animal Inside Me

I was recently asked why the Torah does not include fish in its numerous offerings on the altar. Amongst the items offered at the Bait Hamikdash are bulls, lambs, goats, doves , flour, salt and incense. Included in this list are representatives from inanimate life, plant life and the animal kingdom. However, if we delve further into the animal kingdom we see that fish are omitted.

This week's parsha, Vayikra, discusses many of these sacrifices at length. Sin offerings, communal peace offerings and flour offerings are mentioned. G-d is asking us to sacrifice all sorts of creatures. But why is fish glaringly missing? What does He have against fish?

Chassidus explains the difference between these three levels of living… Read More »

Mirrors and Magnifying Glasses

I’ve been nearsighted for so many years that seeing through glass seems natural to me.  Glasses or contacts – the bottom line is that without them I wouldn’t function nearly as well.

There is another type of glass that we sometimes look at, but not through.  That is, of course, a mirror. When coated, the glass projects a reflection instead of a clear view.

In this week’s parsha Pekudei we read of the kiyor, the laver, which was placed outside the Mishkan. This wash basin served as a necessary preparation for the priests entering to officiate in the Tabernacle.  They were not permitted to enter without first washing their hands and feet.  It was constructed of copper. In those times, copper was… Read More »

Jewish Junk

The rabbi tells his congregation, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets.

***

What happens when six Rebbetzins gather together for Shabbos?

You have too much food – so much that you cannot possibly imagine eating!

That’s the ‘problem’ our family is facing this week in Victor, Idaho.  We are gathered with fellow Chabad Shluchim families from Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming for a regional get-together. It’s a remarkable opportunity to share, study, schmooze and inspire each other. For the kids, it’s simply heaven.

Because of this ‘problem’, our family can… Read More »

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