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.
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Cause for Applause

It’s graduation season. And, we may be tiring of the constant applause. Yes, every student deserves the full credit, but some argue that it becomes monotonous and self-defeating to applaud for everyone. Congratulations are certainly due, but when should we applaud? And, should we offer the same compliments to each student?


In this week’s Torah portion of Behaalotecha we find someone who did not applaud.

When Aharon (Moshe’s brother) witnessed the inauguration of the Mishkan by the princes – each of whom offered sacrifices – he stood by silently. Why didn’t he applaud?

Rashi explains that Aharon felt bad that he was not one of the participants. And G-d then informed Aharon that he has no need … Read More »

How, Not If

The last week has been a tough one for Jews all over the world. It has also been a miraculous one.

Jews in Israel were targeted in their homes, schools and synagogues. Jews in uniform were forced to defend themselves and their people, often at the cost of other human lives.

Jews in New York and Los Angeles were attacked – just for being Jewish. Our sister organization, Chabad Lubavitch of Utah in Salt Lake City, had its front door vandalized with a swastika.

In all of this, we have seen the hand of Hashem. It’s clear that the Torah’s statement about Israel rings true in all times: “The eyes of Hashem your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

And, just this week, it… Read More »

The Biggest Gift

What’s the biggest gift you’ve ever received from your parents or your spouse?

Was it a new car? A piece of jewelry? Watching the kids for a week so you can go on vacation? The knowledge they imparted to you?

At Shavuot, we consider the biggest gift the Jewish people have ever received. 3333 years ago, the Jewish people stood at Sinai and received the Torah. This historic event changed the world forever. The wisdom of the Torah has permeated the entire world. Fast forward three millennia and the world has slowly adopted many of its values. It’s the most widely read book on earth.

And, it has helped our people navigate the triumphs and challenges of our distinct history.

Certainly, Shavuot is a day to celebrate. It&rsqu… Read More »

Net Worth

A super wealthy man was once asked about his net worth. After replying with a figure lower than his assumed wealth, he was questioned, “Have you not understated your assets?”

“No,” he replied, “I’ve stated my true assets, the charity that I have given.”


In the second of this week’s two Torah portions, Behar and Bechukotai, we read of the pledges to the Temple. The Torah tells us that a standard amount was collected from someone who pledged to give the value of a specific person to the Temple. Regardless of the person’s occupation, piety, or talent – it was the same amount.

So, for example, if Izzy said, “I pledge to give the value of Shmerl to the Holy Templ… Read More »

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