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.

Indirect Damage

As Hurricane Dorian nears the Florida coast, we pray that nobody suffers any loss of life, health or property. Hopefully, it will turn away or subside.

Even in a best-case scenario there will likely be indirect damage. Sometimes, it’s not the actual storm, but the storm surge, or the subsequent flooding that causes the most damage.


In this week’s parsha, Re’eh, the Jews are told to destroy and uproot all idolatry upon settling in the land of Israel. The Torah states:

And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their asherim with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place. You shall not do so to the Lord, your G-d.

Why does the Torah need to war… Read More »


As a father of nine children (ka"h) I think I have seen it all when it comes to begging.

“Pretty, pretty please!” is something I have heard many a time. Tantrums for a toy are not foreign to me.

As a parent, I know that accommodating my children’s entreaties should be based on the merits of the child, the situation and the request. However, I cannot say that I have never caved in to incessant nagging. Sometimes, it’s the emotion of the petition, other times it’s the relief of terminating the endless badgering.


Perhaps, however, I can use a lesson on how to deal with nagging from this week’s parsha.

In Va’Etchanan, Moshe begs Almighty G-d to PLEASE let him enter the Holy Land.

This … Read More »

Which Side Are You On?

 We live in very pronounced times, to say the least.

I am often asked, “Whose side are you on?”

Sometimes, it’s sports, sometimes it’s religion, and sometimes it’s politics.


In this week’s parsha, Devarim, the Jews are stationed in the plains of Moab. The fifth Book of the Torah, Devarim, opens with Moshe’s long speech to the Jewish people:

These are the words which Moshe spoke to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan….

However, instead of employing their actual location (as done numerous times in last parsha), the Torah simply states that they were, “on the other side of the Jordan (River).”

Why the ambiguity?


The answer can be found in the context of … Read More »

Stiff Sticks

Today is the beginning of the Nine Days. It is a period of national mourning in the Jewish calendar, marking the destruction of both the first and second Holy Temples that stood in Jerusalem. Our history is littered with tragedy – and jubilation

As we observe the extra signs of bereavement, we turn to the Torah for guidance and inspiration.

By no coincidence, we always read Parshat Matot (and this year Masei as well) during this mourning period.

The name of the parsha, Matot, means staffs (as in sticks). It refers to the tribes of the Jewish people. Just as a tree has many branches, so do the Jews have 12 tribes branching out from the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

There are others terms used to describe the tribes. In fact, another o… Read More »

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