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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.

It's All About the Matzah!

Even the most ignorant Jew is likely familiar with matzah on Pesach. Ask a child and she will tell you why we eat matzah on Passover: Because the Jews left Egypt in haste and their dough did not have time to rise. In commemoration of the unleavened bread that our ancestors ate upon leaving Egypt, we relive the experience by abstaining from leavened bread and eating matzah at the Seder.

The explanation is right on – but it still leaves more unanswered than answered.

Imagine if it so happened that the Continental Army was only able to eat berries during the Revolutionary War. Now imagine that on July 4 it would be forbidden for a week to eat any other fruit save for berries. We would need to scrub our homes clean from other… Read More »

The Power of One

In the past year, we have come to stretch our imagination. We have realized how much of a difference each person makes.

This reminds me of a famous Midrash in this week’s Parsha of Vayikra, which tells the following parable:

A group of people were traveling in a boat. One of them took a drill and began to drill a hole beneath himself.

His companions said to him: "Why are you doing this?" Replied the man: "What concern is it of yours? Am I not drilling under my own place?"

Said they to him: "But you will flood the boat for us all!"

It’s easy for us to remember this lesson when it comes to our immediate surroundings – our family, our workplace and intimate social circle. The… Read More »

A Team of One

The loaded mini-van pulled in to the only remaining campsite. Four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed to gather firewood, while the girls and their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.

 A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters' father, "That, sir, is some display of teamwork."

The father replied, "I have a system. No one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up.”

***

In G-d’s instruction to the Jewish people to build the Mishkan, the traveling Sanctuary, He establishes a team of artisans led by Bezalel and Oholiav. This team crafted the edifice and vessels of the Mishkan as related in this week’s… Read More »

A Golden Opportunity

As winter gives way to spring, we read in the Torah portion of Ki Tisa about the Sin of the Golden Calf.

Amazingly, in response to one of the most shameful events in Jewish history, we merited one of the greatest revelations. Firstly, once forgiven, the Jews received the second Tablets, which were – in many respects – greater than the first Tablets.

Additionally, G-d revealed the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy – which could always be invoked to attain G-d’s forgiveness.

The English word “forgive” is associated with the notion of granting completely, such as granting pardon in the act of forgiveness.

In the Torah, however, the term forgiveness – as it appears in the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy… Read More »

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