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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.

Does Everyone Deserve a Trophy?

We live in a society where everyone gets a trophy. In order to avoid the devastating feelings of failure, we have created a uniform “Everybody’s a winner” society. 

And it’s not just about our kids.

Average grade scores at universities has risen over the last few decades. As waistlines expand, the sizes on labels are actually shrinking.

How do we decide if this is a good or bad phenomenon?

***

In this week’s parsha, Naso, we read about the inauguration of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). For 12 days in a row, the leaders of each tribe offered a special set of sacrifices.

Though each tribal representative offered the same exact sacrifices, the Torah repeats this process twelve times! Yes, the… Read More »

Joy

Last Thursday, I stood at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. I had just finished the morning prayers and was just ‘taking it all in.’ Thousands of years of Jewish history and thousands of Jewish people from all over the world.

As I was standing there, one group after another of Bar Mitzvah boys were marching out of the covered synagogue area to the Kotel plaza with Torah scrolls in hand. Escorted by a small entourage, each group was joyously singing and dancing as they brought the Torah to the bimah.

Mostly, they were Israeli boys. None seemed to be from observant families. But, the celebrations were electrifying.

(If you are ever in Jerusalem on a Monday or Thursday morning, you really should visit the Kotel. Hundreds… Read More »

Real Work

Jews have known their fair share of suffering. Slavery in Egypt, Expulsion from Spain, Millions murdered in the Holocaust.

We have holidays, rituals and memorials for many of these events.

This week I was in Amsterdam and stopped at the Anne Frank Huis (house). It was a reminder of the troubles of our past. But, to me at least, it was also a testament to our present and future.

We are no longer enslaved to Pharaoh or Hitler. We enjoy relatively unprecedented freedom. But, it’s not just that we are less persecuted today. If that would be the case, then all we would have accomplished is going from negative territory back to ground zero.

But, the Torah has a proactive mission for us. Our mandate is to leave a holy imprint on… Read More »

FWD:

Yesterday, on the way home from a fabulous Lag BaOmer celebration at the Chabad Jewish Center, I asked my children to join me in prayer for a child that was in need of a medical recovery after a sporting accident. (Please keep Baruch Shmuel ben Chana in your prayers). One of my children asked aloud, “How does Tatty know about this so quickly if it’s not his friend and if happened today?”

“Don’t you know that it’s ‘going around’?” my daughter responded incredulously.

It’s going around…

Forwarding messages, emails and videos has become so commonplace today, it’s hard to track when and where things originate. But, they do develop a life of their own, traveling around… Read More »

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