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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 Never-Ending Job

They say that Jewish parents only offer advice twice.

When you want it and when you don’t.

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As my son Dovid celebrates his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat, I am compelled to think about all the advice Esther and I have given him over the years, welcome and unwelcome. More than that, however, I wonder what our role will be like now that he is Bar Mitzvah. Will he seek our counsel once he is away in yeshiva? Will he want our advice anymore? Will he listen to our ideas as he matures?

I don’t have the answers, but I suspect that it will be a mixed bag.

What I do know is that, as parents, our job has not ended. It’s an ongoing process.  Parenting is something that never ends. It simply metamorphoses into different… Read More »

Labels

As the weather gets nicer and the flowers bloom, the spirit of summer is in the air. Graduations, picnics and barbecues are some of the things on our minds.  Sending children off to overnight summer camp is also on the minds of many parents.

As we prepare to send some of our children to overnight camp, we cringe at the thought of how many pairs of clothing they will likely leave behind.  To mitigate that, we use permanent markers and labels and all types of other indicators to ensure that somehow their belongings stay with them.  Hopefully, if an item is labeled as belonging to them it will be recognized as such.

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One of the topics of this week’s parsha, Emor, is the Jewish festivals, referred to in the Torah as… Read More »

My Brother's Keeper

Trying to focus on the lessons of this week’s parsha, Kedoshim, has me running in circles.

On the one hand, the Torah warns me, “You shall judge your fellow with righteousness.” Okay, so all people are good, or at least I should assume so.

But just two verses later I am called upon to do something totally different: “You shall surely rebuke your fellow.” Why should I rebuke someone if I am giving her the benefit of the doubt?

I came across a letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, written in 1960, that sheds some light on this. The Rebbe writes:

You write about meeting a Jew in course of your travels who comes to the synagogue to help make up a Minyan [i.e., the quorum of ten needed for prayer], yet at the same… Read More »

Afterthought?

Imagine that your house’s address was “the one after 1200.” Or that your parents referred to you as the child following Sarah. How would you feel?

This week’s Torah portion is called Acharei, which means “after.” It speaks of G-d’s instructions to the kohanim (priests) subsequent to the death of Aharon’s two sons. Certainly, the laws outlined in the parsha are important. In fact, much of it relates to the duties of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. So, why is it called Acharei (after), as if it’s a footnote? Couldn’t the Torah have given a more befitting title?

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Toward the end of the parsha G-d reminds us of the great virtue in following His commandments:

You shall… Read More »

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