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.

Social Nearness

Social Nearness

“It’s strange,” someone told me this week. “I’m staying home and practicing social distancing. Yet, in a sense, I feel closer to people than I have before. Suddenly, I find myself genuinely concerned about others, inquiring about their well-being like I actually mean it and venturing out of my home not for my own pleasure, but simply to help others. When I call people on the phone, I feel like I really am listening to them.”

We are living through unique and testing times. Each one of us is making sacrifices. Some sacrifices are forced upon us. Others we choose to make.

I may not choose it, but my employer reduced my hours. I may not choose it, but I am unable to attend school or sportin… Read More »

The Sanctuary of Shabbat

For generations, Jews were arrested and murdered because they kept Shabbat. Yet, they still kept Shabbat.

Ironically, today, in an era of freedom, it’s the opposite. For perhaps the first time in history, there is barely a synagogue open on Shabbat. Jews are praying privately at home. Not because of anti-Semitism. Because of a pandemic.

COVID-19 has forced people out of the workplace and schools. It has brought billions of people to shelter at home.

So, what message does the Torah have in dealing with these unprecedented times?


The parsha this week is a double-header. In Vayakhel and Pekudei we read (again) about the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). G-d demanded of the Jewish people to create a home for Him o… Read More »

Soulful Infection

As COVID-19 takes over our daily routines, decision-making and social life, we are faced with lots of stress. To be certain, much of the stress-inducing realities are warranted. At the end of the day, we should be following sound medical advice. I’m not a medical professional and will urge you to adhere to doctors’ orders.

Once we figure out what that medical advice is, the new question, then, is not how to behave. Rather, the question is how to feel. I may indeed need to wash my hands triple the amount of times I have until now. But, how should I feel about it? Frustrated? Anxious? Worried? Angry?

What should my attitude be to missed lifecycle events, to canceled plans, to social distancing, to more careful interactions?

Read More »

Community Spread

This week, I went to 5 stores and called another 3 before giving up on finding hand sanitizer locally.

Thank G-d, my wife called me from a supermarket today, insisting that I come immediately because they had hand sanitizer. She was able to purchase some, but they were rationing. In order for us to purchase enough for our large family and for the Chabad Jewish Center, I quickly drove over to get a few more bottles.

Coronavirus has hopefully not arrived in Boise at this point. But, coronavirus fever sure has.

In fact, our community trip to Israel, which was planned for next week, has been indefinitely postponed due to Israel’s strict enforcement of COVID-19 precautions.

The concern facing us in our communities is no longer the scie… Read More »

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