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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.

Is it Morning again in America?

Two Conventions. Two vastly different views on our country.

Ironically, “It’s morning again in America,” might be associated with the Democratic party and doom and gloom the domain of the GOP. Pundits will argue that’s expected from the incumbent party versus the challenging party.

One thing is certain, however.  Everybody wants “morning” again tomorrow.

***

This week’s parsha, Pinchas, discusses many of the sacrifices, including the daily offerings.  Every day an offering was brought in the morning and in the afternoon, toward evening. The sacrifices were identical.

It’s obvious that G-d wants us to serve Him every day.  But why was the offering brought twice in one… Read More »

One-Eyed Vision

Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, related:

When I was four years old, I asked my father [Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe]: “Why did G‑d make people with two eyes? Why not with one eye, just as they have one nose and one mouth?”

“Do you know the Alef-Bet?” asked Father.

“Yes.”

“Then you know that there are two very similar Hebrew letters, the shin and the sin. Can you tell the difference between them?”

“The shin has a dot on its right side; the sin, on its left,” I replied.

Said Father: “There are things which one must look upon with a right eye, with affection and empathy, and there are things to be regarded with a… Read More »

Unfathomable

When G-d presented the Jewish people with the Torah, their famous response was, “We will do and we will understand.”  The ironclad commitment of the Jewish people to G-d’s commandments – regardless of what is called for – is a staple of Jewish tradition. And so is the subsequent, ceaseless striving for understanding. 

Pulling me in opposite directions, this friction creates balance and brings me closer to G-d.  I use my mind to generate a relationship with my Creator.  When that comes up short, my dedication to His will prevails.  A child listens to a parent – sometimes understanding, and at times without comprehension. Knowing that the parent always has a child’s bests… Read More »

Total Transformation

A great revolt was quelled when Korach, the leader of the rebellion, was swallowed by the earth along with his family and inner circle. Another 250 of his followers, demanding to be installed as kohanim, offer the sacrosanct ketoret (incense) to prove their worthiness for the priesthood. A fire consumes the ketoret-offerers. The status of Moshe and Aharon as leaders of the Jewish people was reinforced.

G-d then commanded that the pans used for the sinful offerings should be beaten into plates and used an overlay for the altar in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple).

Why would G-d want the copper that was used as a tool for rebellion to adorn His holy altar?

***

Elie Wiesel, the famed Holocaust survivor who passed away this week, once… Read More »

Unfair Advantage

Your competition across the street is clearly not giving his employees benefits. How can you possibly compete against him?

Your friend can eat sixteen steaks with fries and not gain a pound, yet you will need to diet for sixteen months after eating one steak and fries.

Your child cannot figure out the math problem even after you spend two hours helping her. You look with envy at your daughter’s classmate who does it on her own in two minutes.

Do you ever feel like life’s not fair? What can you do to even the playing field?

As a rabbi I am often approached with this argument. “Rabbi, you can’t possibly expect me to keep kosher when it costs so much more.” “Rabbi, how can I take off from work on… Read More »

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