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.

Are You a Spy?

Nothing quite hurts a country’s intelligence apparatus more than a double agent.

Although the agent is supposed to be working for you, he is actually working for your enemy.

A similar situation occurs in this week’s parsha Shelach. Moshe send 12 spies to scout out the land. Their mission is meant to help the Jewish people conquer the land promised to them by Almighty G-d.

Most of the spies return with a negative report of the land and its people. They declare, “We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”

As they say, “You gotta know your enemy.” Yet, the spies made a tremendous mistake. Their job was to ‘know the enemy.’ It was not to decide whether to fight … Read More »

Strong Foundations

Sports games are judged by the final score. Pundits talk about what a president will do in his or her first 100 days. But, history will judge them on the entirety of their performance.

Is there value in focusing on the beginning, or is keeping our eyes on the long game the best option?


The Jewish people wandered for forty years in the wilderness on their way from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael. In all, their journey consisted of 42 pit stops. The type of traveling was not always the same. In this week’s parsha, Behaalotecha, we see a stark difference in how they traveled.

Having camped at Mount Sinai for over a year, they are finally ready to move on. They arrived at Sinai seven weeks after fleeing from Egypt. We don’t know o… Read More »


Sometimes we can see our destination. In fact, it’s easily within reach.

But, there are roadblocks. The roadblocks are sometimes external. At other times they come from within.

Adversaries, curveballs and all types of unforeseen circumstances get in the way of our goals.

My own procrastination, self-imposed challenges and hurdles, addictions and distractions all block me from achieving the goals in a timely fashion. Even when I otherwise am on target to reach my objective.

How can we overcome these hurdles?

It’s easy to simply wish them away. But, oftentimes, they are very real. Whether or not they are of my own making, they throw me off track and I am unable to simply imagine them out of existence.


In this week’s… Read More »

Stop Caring About Others!

If you have flown on a major airline recently you will notice that the boring safety videos are gone.

In an effort to get you to actually pay attention to the screen, they have been replaced with hilarious or outrageous videos.

As I sometimes travel with children, I am mindful of one constant instruction. In case of emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. The logic is simple. If you don’t have adequate oxygen you may not be in position to help others.

Let’s forget for a moment about the parental instincts. Instead let’s ask a more fundamental question. Should you be focused on helping yourself or others?


Stop thinking about what you can do for others.

Yes, I know it sounds harsh.

But, in a … Read More »

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