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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.

Reality Check

Which Festival in the Torah is considered the most joyous?

According to the Torah, it is Sukkot (joy is mentioned three times regarding Sukkot, the most of any Biblical holiday).

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Why is Sukkot the most joyous holiday? Wouldn’t Passover, the liberation and birth of our nation, qualify as more joyous than remembering dwelling in huts and G-d’s Clouds of Glory? Or, wouldn’t the moment G-d revealed Himself to humanity and gave us the most precious gift, the Torah, qualify better than Sukkot?

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Which Book in the Torah is considered the saddest?

Most would respond that it is the Book of Kohelet / Ecclesiastes.

Interestingly, it is this Book that is associated with Sukkot (some have a custom to read the entire Book of… Read More »

Siamese Twins

Siamese twins can think independently, but often need to learn how to cooperate, as they may share some limbs or bodily functions.  At a minimum, they share the space they occupy. They cannot be in separate places at the same time.

For those of us that are not Siamese twins, what would it feel like to be connected to someone at the hip?

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In this week’s parsha, Haazinu, G-d describes His relationship with the Jewish people: ”Because the L-rd's portion is His people Jacob, the lot of His inheritance.”  In Hebrew, it literally reads: “Because the Lord's portion is His people Jacob, the rope of His inheritance.”

Why are the Jewish people compared to a rope? And, how is this relevant to being… Read More »

E Unum Pluribus

One of the great virtues of America dates back to its founding. Thirteen colonies joined together to form the union that is the United States of America.  Thus declares the Latin motto on our currency: E pluribus unum, translated as “Out of many, one.”

Throughout the years this oneness has grown to include many others. 183 years later the 50th state, Hawaii, joined the union. Thousands upon thousands arrived on America’s shores from other countries, embracing America’s values and seeking its opportunities.  And, no doubt, many more will come.

The beauty of America is the joining together of so many different individuals toward a common goal.

What happens, I wonder, when an American leaves America for… Read More »

The Company You Keep

It turns out that the (digital) company you keep can have a profound influence on your financial life.  Some lenders and credit card companies investigate your tweets and Facebook friends to learn more about your spending habits. Apparently, they are also judging you by your friends’ activities.  If your online acquaintances are delinquent or have accumulated too many DUIs – you may be denied a loan.

Many of us might consider it unfair for banks to withhold funds due to my neighbor’s unpaid bills.  Why should I suffer if my coworker’s birthday party was at Seven Eleven instead of the Hilton hotel?

Yet, some financial institutions argue that the information gleaned from your social media interactions… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.