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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.

Tables Turned

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (the third Chabad Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek) once noticed something extraordinary about his Chassid (follower), Reb Yisroel, a simple storekeeper in Polotzk.

"What have you been up to?" he asked.

After some insistence, Reb Yisroel explained, "The last time I was here, I listened intently to the mystical lessons of the Rebbe.  Being a simple man, I did not understand every word of it. But one teaching I grasped was that our forefather Avraham, because of his abundant acts of kindness, had taken over the job of G-d's attribute of supernal kindness. I was so taken with these words that, although I am in no need of money, I went to my fellow shopkeeper, Nachman, and took out a… Read More »

Triggers

When a loved one is gone for a bit, we remember – and miss – the great qualities they possess and the benefits they bring to our relationship.

When the going gets rough, we remember who our enemies are.

This week, I experienced both of these.

After last Shabbat ended, I turned on my phone to see that there was a voicemail from the Boise Police Department. It was reassuring to hear that our local law enforcement was reaching out to provide physical and moral support to us at a time when a terrible crisis was underway in Texas.

Apparently, the community welcomed this person in, assuming he was in need of support and community. It wasn’t until they heard the sound of a trigger that they realized they were in serious… Read More »

Insanity

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result. At least according to a famous quote that has been attributed to many origins.

Is it really true?

In this week’s parsha Beshalach, the Jewish people have already departed from Egypt. They are finally free. Yet, they suddenly find themselves in a pickle again. This time they aren’t inside Egypt. Nonetheless, they are frightened by Egypt’s menacing threat again. Egypt is chasing after them.

The Baal Shem Tov compared this to a person that is suffering from a malady. He travels from place to place and cannot understand why his troubles keep following him…

The Jews could not believe that no matter where they went, they still were… Read More »

Transformative Darkness

If the ancient Egyptians would have discovered electricity would they have avoided the suffering of the ninth plague of darkness?

 This week’s parsha Bo describes a week of darkness in Egypt as the second-to-final plague that befell Egypt and soon led to the exodus of the Jewish people. The other plagues all brought about destruction to Egypt and its people. This plague – immediately preceding the harshest of all, the killing of the firstborns – seems meek in comparison. All it did was keep the Egyptians in a state of confusion and inaccessibility. We don’t know of any lasting damage. So, what was its purpose?

During this time, the Jewish people were able to see. In fact, it was during this plague that they… Read More »

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