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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.

Uninstall 2020?

When corona is over, I’ll open a new, successful business.

When this pandemic ends, I’ll visit my mom more often.

When the world opens up, I’ll volunteer to help the less fortunate in a developing country.

I’ll have deeper relationships, visit the gym more often and volunteer at the hospital.

When corona is over.

This pandemic has given us lots of time to contemplate and plan. And, it’s made many of us realize how much we could have done when things were normal. It’s also made us realize how much we should do once it subsides.

We’ve got ample time to plan now, but should that be our focus?

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At the end of this week’s parsha Va’etchanan, G-d reminds the Jewish people of their… Read More »

Outside Help

These days I’m all about outside help.

For communicating with people, I need phones and Zoom.

For groceries, I need masks and delivery service.

For safety and wellness, I need science and prayer.

Perhaps one of the realities of living through this pandemic is that we realize how dependent we truly are on others. Before we thought we can ‘go it alone.’ Now, we realize we need more support than we ever imagined.

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This week we begin reading the fifth and final Book of the Chumash (Five Books of Moshe). The parsha this week, Devarim, shares a name with the Book (Devarim/Deuteronomy).

If you were a good student until now, you might find Devarim boring and redundant. That’s because Devarim is basically a review of… Read More »

Homeless Nomads?

Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors. A favorite activity in Idaho is camping.

No matter the setup – whether you are in an RV or a tent – you are away from home. The amenities that you usually depend on are often unavailable.

The amazing reality is that, when camping, people usually are excited about things that they would complain about at home. At home you might complain about sleeping in a sleeping bag or having to collect firewood to warm yourself. But, when camping it’s a fun activity.

Obviously, attitude has a lot to do with it. The beauty of the great outdoors that Hashem has given us has a lot to do with it.

But, perhaps there is something else as well. Knowing that this is only temporary makes it a lot… Read More »

Following my Wife's Lead

Driving through Utah on a road trip, my wife keeps reminding me that she has got the view covered. I had better keep my eyes on the road. While I do most of the driving, she does most of the leading. It’s a lot easier to control a steering wheel than meals and squeals.

One of the mistakes of modern times is that we view the person at the helm as the true leader. If you are sitting up front, you must be the one in charge.

In this week’s parsha of Pinchas we are reminded that often it’s just the opposite.

As the Jews near the close of their forty-year journey, they are told about the inheritance of the land of Israel. Each household would receive one portion in the land. Although Jewish identity is determined by… Read More »

Better Than Nobel Prizes

Ask Google about Jewish contributions to the world and you will get many results about science, medicine, and Nobel prizes.

Jewish people are indeed responsible for a larger share of inventions and medical discoveries than their numbers call for. And, these contributions often reflect values of the Jewish people.

But, is that their most important contribution? Is being a mentsch, having a classy sense of humor or achieving academic success the hallmark of being very Jewish?

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There is an old, wry joke that if you want to know how miserable the Jews are, look in a Jewish newspaper. If you want to see how great the Jews are doing, look in a non-Jewish newspaper.

This truism was especially accurate in Soviet Russia. In the 1920s the… Read More »

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