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.

The Past, Present and Future

Rosh Hashana is almost upon us.  We are getting ready to pray, celebrate and sound the shofar. Oh, it’s a Jewish event, so we are obviously cooking lots of food.

We are also celebrating the last Shabbat of the year. This week’s parsha, Nitzavim, is one of the shortest in the Torah, with only 40 verses.

Yet, it packs in some of the most powerful Jewish themes. We are told about the unity of the Jewish people and the future redemption. We are taught that Torah and its commandments are within reach.

Straddling the past year and facing the New Year, it’s no wonder that we often read this parsha right before Rosh Hashana.

The message is clear. Embracing the new year and its blessing can best be achieved by embracing th… Read More »

Knee-Jerk Praise

Sometimes, when attending or viewing a ballgame it’s difficult to assess exactly what’s happening on the field.  Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear when something favorable occurs to the team I support.  The field might be too crowded to decipher exactly what happened, but I’m certain that my team has control of the ball. Turns out it was a fumble recovery in our favor.  My excitement and cheering began before I even knew what had transpired.

In fact, I might need to wait for the announcer, the instant replay or a friend’s explanation to figure out what really occurred.  No matter. I’m cheering because I sense something went right for my team.

I may not know why I’m on board, but I… Read More »

The Hero Within

My dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, of Chabad of Peabody, MA, had a baby girl today. Mazal Tov to him and his family! May they raise her to Torah, Chupah and good deeds. I’d like to share a thought from his weekly email:

Ever lose a dollar or five or a twenty? You realize it must have fallen out of your pocket at the grocery store when you pulled out your wallet or when you needed to show your license. It's frustrating but manageable (as long as it is not $100 or maybe more).

Wouldn't it be nice to know that the five or twenty was picked up by someone who really needed the money and it helped them buy a loaf of bread that they might have otherwise not been able to afford? It sure would alleviate the frustr… Read More »

The Fish Police

C’mon Rabbi, you’re a bit too extreme.

For me, this is an all-too-familiar comment, which I take as a compliment. Usually, it has something to do with the length of some rituals, or the minutia of halacha (Jewish law).

Wouldn’t it be okay if we broke the fast on Yom Kippur at 5:00 instead of 7:48 this year? I can understand not eating pork – that’s a biggie. But why do I need to have certification on the meat and fish we eat?

Well… This Wednesday’s New York Times featured an article about fish. The Title speaks for itself:

Catfished by a Catfish: 1 in 5 Seafood Samples Is Fake, Report Finds

That’s right, even in the USA. Chances are – if you aren’t keeping strictly kosher &nd… Read More »

Seeing the Joy

This week’s parsha, Re’eh, opens with the words, “See, I give you today a blessing and a curse.”

We recognize that we have freedom of choice and G-d is admonishing us to choose properly.

Usually, however, when someone in a position of authority is laying out choices, s/he will do so by saying, “Listen.” Why does G-d choose – this point – to use the term “see” versus “hear” (as we find in the Shema, for example).


This week my wife and I were privileged to welcome our newest addition to the family, a baby girl. Thank G-d, mother and daughter are well. We now have evened the score with 4 boys and 4 girls!

The joy of welcoming our daughter knows no bounds. We are t… Read More »

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