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.
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Double Miracle?

My children know good and well that when I repeat instructions to them, it is – in all likelihood – not because I have gone senile (G-d Forbid), but because I am emphasizing something. It is important and sometimes it is urgent.


This week’s parsha Miketz tells of two dreams that Par’oh, the king of Egypt, had. After Yodef (Joseph) successfully interprets the dreams he is promoted to viceroy, eventually leading to the reunion with his family.

Why did Hashem make Pharaoh have two virtually identical dreams? Wouldn’t one dream be sufficient?

Yosef explained to Phar’oh that the repetition is emphasizing that this matter is imminent and critical. It requires concentrated attention and forceful action.


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As Chanukah arrives, I hear the annual chatter about how difficult it is to be a Jew during this time of year. At schools, businesses and public places the non-Jewish holiday displays are ubiquitous. Coupled with songs and parties – it’s simply everywhere.

How do Jews remain proud at this time of year, especially in places like Idaho? How can we compete against such great odds? Indeed, we cherish the religious freedom that our great country affords us.  But we are, after all, a minority.


Many have argued about the prominence Chanukah receives in modern Jewish society. Some claim that it’s not a major Jewish holiday and its virtue is largely exaggerated, only due to competition with other fai… Read More »

Defining Ourselves

It’s a story we are, tragically, all too familiar with.

Jews are singled out for murder. Just because they are Jews.

We are still reeling from the horrific attack in Jersey City. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

Yes, anti-Semitism still exists. Yes, until Moshiach comes, it will continue in some form. And, no, it’s not limited to one type of perpetrator. History has proven there are many varying sources of such hatred. History has also proven that Jews have never been spared its venom.

Instead of merely asking – and working toward – how we can end anti-Semitism, it’s also import to ask another question: If it’s here, how should I – internally – … Read More »

The Art of Deception

Is there such a thing as good deception?

Is it ever appropriate to deceive others?


The hero of our parsha Vayetzei, Yaakov, was a Master of Deception.

In fact, his name Yaakov means trickery.

In last week’s parsha he deceived his father in order to receive the blessings. In this week’s parsha he deceives his uncle Lavan, besting a world-class cheater.

Why is Yaakov – the final of the Patriarchs – associated so much with deception?


One of the ways Yaakov deceived Lavan was by escaping with his family without as much as a goodbye. 

The Torah says, “And Yaakov saw Lavan's countenance, that he was not disposed toward him as he had been yesterday and the day before. And the Lord said to Yaakov, &qu…Read More »

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