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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.

When Bad is Good

When cooking at home, my wife often reminds to choose the lesser of two “evils” as much as possible. If it’s a choice between margarine and olive oil, go with the latter. If the options are sugar versus corn syrup, go with the former.

Truthfully, too much olive oil is no good either. But compared to margarine or shortening it’s looking mighty holy.

***

In this week’s Parsha of Pinchas we read about Moshe’s final view of Israel. He was, after all, denied entry into the coveted land. The Torah states:

The Lord said to Moses, "Go up to this mount Abarim and look at the land that I have given to the children of Israel.

And when you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, just as… Read More »

Oblivious

If someone gifts you a billion dollars but you never know it, are you rich?

If you stumble upon the cure for cancer, but nobody finds out, have you made a medical contribution?

If someone tries to harm you, but never meets you, have you suffered?

*

Imagine reading your own story, but not recognizing important parts of your life.

This is what the Jews must have felt like after reading Parashat Balak. In contrast to other parts of the Torah, this week’s parsha tells a story that transpires to the Jewish people, without them even knowing it. Unbeknownst to them, Balak hired Bilaam to curse the Jews. He winds up offering some of the most potent blessings.

It’s certainly a victory for the Jewish people – but they… Read More »

Reviving the Dead

Sometimes, we might feel dead inside. Yes, we are physiologically alive. But, our motivation has been sapped, our movement is heavy and the outlook looks bleak.

The factors may be internal or external, but the dilemma is the same. How do I crawl out of this sad state?

***

This week’s parsha, Chukat, talks about the laws of ritual impurity and purity. There are many causes for a person to wind up in a state of ritual impurity. None of them have anything to do with hygiene or health.

Similarly, the path to ritual purity is not through a physician or shower.

The concept of ritual purification is described by the Torah itself as a supra-rational concept. In fact, it is the name of the parsha. The opening words, “Zot… Read More »

Inspiring a Generation

The former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, has remarked that, “Good leaders create followers. Great leaders create leaders.”

***

Tonight marks the 25th yahrzeit of my dear Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory.

For me it’s a bittersweet time. A time to connect with my Rebbe, and a time to meditate on his leadership that has brought us to this moment. A time to thank Almighty G-d for the great privilege to serve as the Rebbe’s emissary. And, a time to implore Almighty G-d to end all the suffering in this world and bring our righteous Moshiach.

As I seek inspiration, I look at this week’s parsha, Korach.

It’s all about leadership. Korach leads a rebellion against… Read More »

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