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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.

Retroactive Revelations

We often judge people – ourselves included – by what happens today.

We have a great day at work and we think of ourselves as loving our job.

We have a rough moment with our children and consider ourselves rotten parents.

Or, we view ourselves as failures after a weak moment and surrender to a particular temptation.

Of course the long view might suggest otherwise.

Today was a fabulous day at work, but in reality, I’m not particularly happy with my job.

I got angry with my children yesterday, but that doesn’t happen too often. We have a wonderful relationship.

I’ve got a superb track record kicking that old habit of mine. Indeed, I slipped up. But, I’m back on the wagon and haven’t fallen off… Read More »

Babies Welcome!

My wife Esther and our youngest daughter Rivka are enjoying a special time in New York. Seminars, classes, networking, farbrengens, informal reunions and mentoring are all part of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries.  But, that’s not what’s unique about this conference.

Taking up all the available meeting space at the Brooklyn Marriott are several thousand women and their babies.  Women attend sessions while their infants are watched by babysitters in adjacent rooms.  It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event where nursing mothers, grandmothers, and newlyweds can participate together as equals.

I would venture to say it’s the world’s largest (non-parenting) conference for… Read More »

New Year for Trees?

Tonight begins the annual festival of Tu Bi’Shevat, the fifteenth of Shevat. It is the Jewish New Year for trees.

But, I think it is one of the most misunderstood dates on the Jewish calendar. You see, it’s not the Jewish New Year for the earth, conservation, or even for vegetation. Sorry to disappoint, but it’s specifically the New Year for trees.

As such, we observe it by eating fruit, not grain or vegetables.

The origins of this festival are in the Talmud. The opening Mishnah in Tractate Rosh Hashanah states:

There are four New Year days: The first of Nissan is New Year for Kings and for festivals; the first of Elul is New Year for the cattle-tithe, but according to R. Eliezer and R. Shimon, it is on the first of… Read More »

Jews Without Borders

Borders are something all of us live with.  Countries have borders. Homes have borders. Families have borders. Businesses have borders. Bodies have borders.  Space has borders.

We can debate how many borders we should have, what they should look like and how to best to uphold or diminish them. But, in some form or another, borders are a part of our lives.

***

The final plague that Hashem brought upon the Egyptians was the Death of the Firstborns, which we read about in this week’s parsha, Bo.

Meticulous instructions were delivered to the Jewish people prior to this catastrophic blow to their oppressors.  Jews were to celebrate with a Pesach offering, put blood on the doorposts, and prepare for departure.… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.