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.

Eclipsing the Eclipse

Since Boise is only a short drive away from the path of the total solar eclipse, huge crowds were expected in town. Even greater hordes were projected to arrive in the towns directly within the path of totality.

Billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I woke my family before dawn in order to head out to see the eclipse.  We drove to a favorite recreational site of ours, just north of Horseshoe Bend.  Having read and heard all the dire predictions about traffic and gridlock, we gave ourselves 5 hours of travel time, instead of the 45 minutes it normally takes. We also arrived with enough food and supplies for two days, though we were only planning on staying a few hours.  The trip up took about 45 minutes, as it usually d… Read More »

Good Omen or Bad Omen?

It hasn’t happened in nearly 100 years. There’s already traffic on the streets.  State and federal agencies are bracing for the influx of visitors.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Idaho is smack in middle of the action.

On Monday, August 21, the USA will experience a total solar eclipse.  It’s an amazing phenomenon that doesn’t happen too often. And, it’s extremely rare for it to pass over the entire USA, albeit totality will only be in a 70-mile-wide band.

But, should we say a blessing when we see the eclipse? We Jews have a blessing for everything. For the food we eat, for the clothes we wear, for weddings and death, for holidays and burning the chametz, for circumcision a… Read More »

Locked and Loaded

President Trump unleashed a media uproar with his comments this week regarding North Korea, the reclusive and menacing Asian country. No doubt, Kim Jong Un, the young and ruthless dictator, needs to be kept in check.  How to accomplish that, however, is a matter of great debate.

In an interview, Trump suggested that America would respond with “fire and fury” if provoked by North Korea. He also tweeted that America’s military solutions are “locked and loaded” should Kim Jong Un act unwisely.

While those are loaded terms (pun intended), what they mean is that North Korea’s suspected nuclear capacity is no match for America’s military might.  America‘s strength is not simply bluster. … Read More »

A Mind Wrapped in Emotion

A few weeks ago the Roving Rabbis, Schneur Druk and Mendel Hertz, met a Jew in Idaho Falls.  A retired nuclear scientist, he had not participated in much of anything Jewish for decades. He was elderly and ill and wasn’t particularly interested in religion, to say the least. Science was his religion.

When the rabbis knocked on his door, he greeted them suspiciously, but welcomed them in nonetheless. After a long conversation, he warmed up and decided to take up the rabbis on their offer to perform the mitzvah of tefillin, which is discussed in this week’s parsha Va’etchanan.  He claimed that if he didn’t understand the ritual there was no use doing it. But, he liked the rabbis so he decided to do it anyway.

Read More »
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