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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.

Facial Recognition

Nowadays, airplane seats might recognize who is sitting in them. Your phone unlocks by looking at you. You can cross borders simply by removing your sunglasses, so your iris can be scanned.

Facial recognition is now part of life. For better or for worse.

We can recognize people by their faces. But, does a face tell us who is really inside?

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The only sacred vessel that this week’s parsha Ki Tisa introduces is the Kiyor, the Laver. The kohanim (priests) in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) were required to wash their hands and feet prior to officiating.

Similarly, the Code of Jewish Law mandates that we wash our hands prior to prayer. Since prayer replaces the Temple worship, we likewise sanctify… Read More »

Private Offerings

In his famous description of tzedaka (charitable giving), Rambam enumerates the degrees of tzedaka. It’s better to give tzedaka anonymously – with neither the benefactor nor the beneficiary aware of each other. This, writes Maimonides, is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven, without ulterior motive and without the blemishes of pride or shame.

The Talmud tells of great rabbis that would throw money into a poor man’s home and run away; of others that would drop coins behind them for the paupers to take. In the Holy Temple there was an anonymous fund to which people contributed anonymously – and the funds of which were distributed anonymously.

We can easily understand the value of modesty in… Read More »

Fashion Statement

Home decorating is a matter of taste. Modern or rustic, it’s meant to express the attitudes and style of the occupants. And, hopefully, provide an inviting space for others as well.

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In this week’s parsha Teruma the Jewish people are instructed to create a home for Hashem. The Mishkan (Tabernacle) is G-d’s home on earth. As the Torah describes it, “And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.”

In Hashem’s blueprint two articles stand out for their specific instruction. The menorah, the seven-branched candelabra, and the kaporet, the covering to the Aron (ark) that housed the luchot (Tablets) had something in common. They were the only two items required to be… Read More »

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