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.

Equally Unique

Thanksgiving is not a Jewish holiday.

But, its principles are something Jews should celebrate.

The purpose of Thanksgiving is to thank Almighty G-d for the abundance, joy and freedom that the United States of America affords.

Since its inception – and subsequent adoption as a national holiday – America has changed a lot and developed in many ways. In addition to the influx of diverse peoples into the USA, the character of our nation has progressed. From sports to cuisine; from laws to lands – America is a very different country than it was during the era of the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers.

So, are we thankful in the same vein as our predecessors? Or, are we a new culture hanging onto an old tradition?


In… Read More »


When reading the life-story of Yitzchak (Isaac) in this week’s parsha Toldot, I am amazed to see that although we are familiar with Yitzchak from birth onwards, the Torah begins the narrative of his life from the point of his marriage to Rivka (Rebecca). To be sure, we know a fair amount about him from previous Torah portions. We know that he was circumcised at eight days old; that his parents threw a grand party when he was weaned; that his father almost sacrificed him at 37 years old; and that his father sought an extraordinary girl for him to marry. According to the Midrash, Yitzchak also spent three years in the Garden of Eden. But all of that is a detail in the tale of his parents. In his own right, we are introduced to… Read More »

Promises Kept

America just experienced an historic election. No matter what brand of politics you subscribe to, you would agree that this election garnered the most attention – and participants – in over a century. It’s uplifting to see so many people excited about partaking in our civic process.

This election has torn at the seams of our country. I pray that we can come together.

Although we are still living through unique moments of this election, some people are probably sighing a sigh of relief that the campaigning period is over. The endless ads, the incessant and redundant news cycle, and the shrill chatter can be grinding on our psyches.

During campaign season we hear lots of promises. Time will tell whether those elected… Read More »


I would not be exaggerating if I said that my wife’s older sister, Chani, may also be her best friend. Just a couple years apart in age, they are very close. Throughout their childhood, however, my wife was – and remains – taller than her big sister. So, Esther was the little-big sister.

But, regardless of physical height, Esther continues to look up to her big sister – to her sage advice, admirable devotion and tall stature.

This reminds me of a story from the youth of the fifth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, whose birthday is tomorrow. He had an older brother, Zalman Ahron, who was shorter than him.

One day, their father came home to see the younger brother in a pit with his older brother… Read More »

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