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.

What's Your Loss Leader

I have always thought it somewhat amusing that Thanksgiving – a day of reflection and gratitude for the important things in life – is immediately followed by the shopping frenzy of Black Friday.  Isn’t it ironic that we Americans go from our humble feelings of thanksgiving to an all-out campaign of ‘give me more’?  True, many are searching for gifts to give others, but the atmosphere smacks of greed and encourages jealousy. 

Many in America are heading to shopping malls or online merchants in the wee hours of the morning to cash in on Black Friday sales.  In fact, we are witness to fierce price wars between major businesses – each trying to undercut the other’s prices.  Pop… Read More »

Family Reunion

Yesterday we welcomed our son Levi into the Covenant of Abraham.  It was wonderful to have so many friends and family present at the bris.

Most special was the tremendous effort by my nonagenarian grandparents to attend their great-grandson’s circumcision. Traveling from New York, their presence was the biggest present we could get.

In case you haven’t noticed, we value family quite a bit – lots of it!

This reminds me of the famous quip of George Burns. He jested that happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family – in another city.

If action speaks louder than words – we couldn’t disagree more heartily!


In this week’s parsha of Vayishlach, we read of a unique family reu… Read More »

Journey Up a Ladder

My family had the great merit of welcoming a new baby boy into our family this week. It didn’t happen overnight. I marvel at Esther grace in enduring nine months of pregnancy. She makes it seem so effortless and casual.

But, as we all know it’s a process. It takes time. And, this is for the baby’s benefit. We don’t want shortcuts in the baby’s development.


As I flew home last week from New York, I contemplated the relatively quick shift from the Big Apple to Boise.  Spending a long weekend with colleagues and family immersed in Torah, Chassidic inspiration and simply surrounded by Jewish culture was a special treat. 

Thanks to the invention and advances of the airplane, several hours later I was… Read More »

Learning to Learn

The old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

Throughout the years living in the wonderful outdoors of Idaho, I have come to enjoy the art of fishing. I have also come to realize that it’s a much more complex sport than meets the eye.

Fortunately, I’ve had some good teachers – including my own children.

Unfortunately, I’m a better teacher of Torah than I am a student of fishing.

I have learned the basics. I can fend for myself and perhaps help an out-of-town novice.

But, the knack to know which waters are best, when the fish are biting and – most of all – the ability to apply the lessons learned to new situations, are still… Read More »

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