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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.

A Mamma's Marching Orders

Ever meet someone you know at the most awkward time or place?

As a Rabbi, I sometimes visit Jewish inmates.

Chabad Shluchim across the globe reach out to Jews in the most isolated and desperate circumstances. As Chanukah approaches, we reinforce our mission to reach out with love to every Jew.

People often ask me why I bother to visit those that have failed society.

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I remember once sitting in the waiting area. Suddenly, someone I know walks in. I immediately tried to divert my attention so as not embarrass them. But, the immediate question we each had for each other would be, “What are you doing here?!”

Meeting someone else in a compromised situation reminds me of a story in this week’s parsha.

Parshat Toldot… Read More »

Kindness to Strangers

What is the most important character trait to look for in a spouse?

This week’s parsha Chayei Sarah offers an answer. It is the first matchmaking effort in the Torah. Avraham dispatches his trusted servant Eliezer to find a suitable wife for his son Yitzchak.

Eliezer travels to Avraham’s native land of Aram Naharaim to search among Avraham’s relatives.

But, how would he find the right girl?

Eliezer made a deal of sorts with G-d, that the first girl to offer water to him and his camels would be the correct one. Rivka immediately did just that – and the rest is history.

Eliezer also was looking for the right family. And the Torah states that Rivka was beautiful. She was also apparently mature and wise beyond… Read More »

Does it All Boil Down to Motive?

In American criminal law, motive reigns supreme. If someone is to be found guilty of a crime, the prosecution must prove that there was intent. If the motive was innocent, then the act is not criminal, regardless of what actually occurred.

This has far-reaching implications and impacts our dialogue today.

But, what about the flip side? Is a good deed worthless if a positive motive is missing?

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In this week’s parsha Vayeira, we learn about Avraham’s tactics to spread monotheism. The Torah relates that, “He called there in the name of the Lord, the G-d of the world.” The Midrash explains that Avraham would feed wayfarers at his desert crossroads. When they would offer to pay, he would insist that they… Read More »

Are You an Influencer?

Your best friend is about to commit to a terrible decision. You know it will be detrimental to her, but you are unsure what to do.

Should you scare her off from it by warning of the inevitable destructive outcome? Should you offer her better alternatives? Should you just be a good role model? Or should you just mind your own business?

Granted, there are situations when it’s not clear-cut. But, this one is black and white. You know what the outcome will be if she continues down this path. So, what do you do?

Each of us is entrusted with a divine mission to influence others. No human being is merely a recipient. So, how do I maximize my potential to inspire my family, friends and complete strangers?

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By virtually all… Read More »

Road Win

History was made this week when the Washington Nationals captured their first-ever World Series title. Not only was it the first championship for the baseball franchise - it was also the first time all seven World Series games were won by the road team.

It must have been difficult for the fans attending the games, but a win is a win. Amazingly, the Nationals lost all their home games, yet won all four road games. Never before has a World Series champion lost all their home games.

We all know that sports teams have an easier time winning at home. The home-field advantage is a real phenomenon. The fans are rooting for you, you are on familiar terrain and you are in your psychological comfort zone.

Winning on the road, conversely… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.