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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.

Personal Identity Theft

How many advertisements a day do we hear about identity theft? It’s a serious concern nowadays.  It may begin with a stolen credit card number, but if identity thieves get your detailed private information they can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life.

As technology continues to develop, concerns about safeguarding information rise. Part of that concern circles around intricate codes and numbers. After all, there may be many Jacob Goldsteins out there, but only one has the social security number with 3841 as the last four digits.

Imagine if we did away with social security numbers, dates of birth, names or any other personal information. Would that make us safer? Perhaps. But at what expense?  Are we prepared… Read More »

Family First

In the Torah’s laws against usury and cheating we find an interesting verse in this week’s Parsha of Behar-Bechujotai. “And when you make a sale to your fellow Jew or make a purchase from the hand of your fellow Jew, one man shall not wrong his brother.”

There are many details to the laws of interest and ethical business dealings. What’s strange here, however, is the end of the verse. Why is the Torah saying, “One man shall not wrong his brother?”  The Torah already included everyone by saying “your fellow.”

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Perhaps there is a greater lesson here as parents, children and extended family members.

It seems that we often put a little extra financial burden on family… Read More »

Light Night

Along with so many Jews and non-Jews in Boise, I was deeply troubled by this week’s terrible vandalism at the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial in downtown Boise.

The act was heinous. The condemnation is obvious.

But, aside for restoration, calls for unity and standing up to such hatred, what message does it have to me in my everyday life? It’s easy to recite the necessary allegiance to tolerating all peoples and loving humanity.  I wish I had a magic wand capable of making bigotry vanish immediately. Unfortunately, I don’t.

Absent that magic, we will continue to live in a somewhat dark world. What can I do about it? Especially, if I don’t usually come in contact with those that are capable of such horrific… Read More »

The Secret of Jewish Survival

How is it that Jews, in so many disparate locations, under so many oppressive regimes, with so much assimilation, have managed to survive – and thrive – through so many centuries?

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An interesting law in this week’s Torah portion, Acharei-Kedoshim, is the law of Orloh, fruit that are forbidden for the first three years. Interestingly, if such fruit get mixed into other fruit, they are nullified 200/1 (unlike nonkosher meat for example, which is nullified 60/1).  But, if one tree in an orchard is orloh, but we don’t know which one, it never becomes nullified.

The reason is that something that is attached to the its source (in this case the ground), it can never lose its identity – and thus cannot… Read More »

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