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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.

Tough Beginnings

We are at the tail end of a month of Jewish holidays. We began with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Then Yom Kippur, Sukkot & Simchat Torah. It’s a pretty intense start to the year. Introspection, awe, commitment and jubilation – all wrapped in less than a month.

This week we also begin the annual cycle of studying the Torah. The first parsha Bereishit tells the story of Creation. Looking more closely, it tells the story of over a thousand years. It tells of humanity’s first efforts.

Interestingly, all those efforts are marred in failure. The Tree of Knowledge. Murder of a brother. Immorality and wickedness metastasize to the degree that G-d wants to destroy the world.

If I was reading a novel… Read More »

Write it Down!

 Often, when I am pondering something significant, I will tell myself, “That’s a great idea. I should explore it further when I have some time.”

Usually, however, my subsequent attempts to research the subject are met with scant and subpar results (that is, if I even remember to follow up). Sometimes, the only way I’m able to tap into the excitement and richness of the initial inspiration is if I act upon it immediately. If I quickly start developing the idea, it will frequently bear fruit.

One way to make sure the idea does not disappear into the abyss is by discussing it with someone or committing it to writing ASAP. If it gets stale, it will usually just collect dust – at… Read More »

Music to My Ears

The greatest bestseller of all times?

The Torah.

The amount of pages written about the Torah, the countless hours of its study throughout history and the layers and layers of its messages are testament to the endless pursuit of Divine wisdom.

It is described in the book of Iyov (Job) as, “Longer than the earth is its measure, and wider than the sea.”

Yet, in this week’s parsha, the Torah is not presented as an intellectual, theological or philosophical masterpiece. Rather Parshat Haazinu refers to the Torah as a song. 

Great as its wisdom may be, it is a mistake to reduce the Torah to merely the greatest intellectual work. That would be akin to stating that an intellectual idea is soft to the touch. Touch… Read More »

Saving or Spending?

Ever look at the bottom of the receipt when you go shopping? It will often state the amount of money you saved by purchasing your groceries, clothing or furniture.

Obviously, this is somewhat of a misnomer. Everyone likes a good deal – but the greatest savings comes from no deal at all! When you shop, you spend money. But, the marketing experts have figured out that you would feel better focusing on the money you saved rather than the hole in your wallet.

***

In this week’s parsha Vayelech the Torah predicts that the Jewish people will forsake the Torah but will ultimately embrace it again.

This process is particularly relevant this time of year. We now find ourselves in the Ten Days of Teshuva. At this time of repentance… Read More »

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