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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.

Moshe or Haman?

This week’s Torah portion is one of a kind. Tetzaveh is the only portion that does not have Moshe’s name mentioned in it. From the time we meet Moshe until the end of the Torah (excluding his first-person sermons), he is always mentioned. Except for this parsha.

Interestingly, we read this portion this year right before Purim. Unique among all the books of the Bible (תנ"ך), only the Book of Esther does not contain G-d’s name, not even once.

Might there be a connection?

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The primary antagonist in the Purim story is a man named Haman.  He plots to annihilate the Jewish people. His name is mentioned numerous times in the Megillah. According to tradition, we make a special effort to denounce him when we hear… Read More »

Renovating our World

It’s just too horrific to bear.

Hearing my classmate, Rabbi Mendy Gutnick of Chabad of Parkland, Florida tell of the tragedies in his community (four of the victims were regulars at Chabad), is simply heartbreaking.

As Ahron, the High Priest responded to the death of his two children, and as is the custom at a Jewish house of mourning, the only thing we can do is be silent. Quietly, paying our respect and showing our sympathy, empathy and support is the Jewish way in bereavement.

But, how do we then move forward?

As difficult as it is to think about that when the wounds are so fresh, we need to look for guidance. We need to find the strength to persevere, to transform pain and anguish into growth and forces for good.

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In… Read More »

Holy Logic

What comes first, logic or faith?

Faith is often referred to as the place beyond logic. It’s what we access in a situation when our minds are inadequate.

It follows, then, that we approach most things with logic first and, only if that fails, resort to faith.

As we study this week’s parsha Mishpatim we might wonder about that theory. You see, Mishpatim means “rational laws.” This week’s parsha is all about laws that make sense to us – civil laws and basic ethical values. These are the type of laws that, absent a Divine command, we humans would likely institute some variant of.

Last week’s parsha Yitro, however, is all about Revelation at Sinai. The setting is drastic and miraculous. G-d… Read More »

Unclassified

Today President Trump authorized the declassification and release of a memo from Congress, alleging that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources.”

Understandably, this uncommon move has caused a significant reaction from both sides of the aisle.

Putting aside the politics and the constitutional issues, this does bring to the fore a powerful question: What type of information is important to be shared with the public?  What type of information is useful for the public?

This was not a major document dump, but the nature of the information released, sanctioned by the government, is indeed unique.

Was this a great public service, a political stunt, an abuse of power (on which side?!), or… Read More »

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