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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.

The Tortoise and the Hare

We’re all familiar with the famous fable. The tortoise outraces the hare due to her determined and steady progress. The primary lesson the hare – and all of us – must learn is the foolishness of overconfidence and the folly of laziness.

Peering deeper into this parable, even if we aren’t overconfident, and despite our best efforts, we may still succumb to the hare’s fate. Why do so many of us start projects and never wrap up?  In the likes of horse racing, we might be able to reserve our energy for that final stretch. But in the game of life, we often grow tired and never manage to finish strong. Why?

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One of the apparently odd obsessions of our Patriarchs was digging wells. What’s even more odd… Read More »

Real Fruit

No matter how many times I’ve done it before, attending the annual Shluchim conference in New York is always special.  Sitting at a table with friends and strangers, I realize that I am part of something so much larger than myself.

We all have a mission in life, a purpose or calling for which we were created.  In this sense we cannot be more different than one another. Nobody can replace my mission and I cannot serve in their stead.

On the other hand, we all share the same purpose.  We all serve collectively toward the same goal of making this world a G-dly place.

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In this week’s parsha, Chayei Sarah, we learn of the first Shlichut, mission, in the Torah. Avraham charged his right-hand man, Eliezer, with a… Read More »

Manipulation

There’s a big hoopla online about Twitter’s on-again-off-again Blue Check verification system.  The world’s richest man has taken over the social media company, and quickly began implementing changes.

One proposed change was to charge $8 a month to achieve verified status, earning one’s account a Twitter Blue check. However, that system apparently attracted lots of trolls. In fact, Elon Musk’s own account (as well as Tesla’s), was impersonated in a widely-followed parody. So, it’s gone faster than it had appeared.

In the age of social media, when anyone can broadcast their ideas to the entire world in a flash, manipulation seems to be a big issue. It can affect stock prices (cue Eli Lilly)… Read More »

G-d’s Laugh

There’s a famous Yiddish saying, “Der mentsch tracht un Guh-t lacht,” which translates to, “A person thinks and G-d laughs.” The meaning of this idiom is that we have our plans, but G-d has other plans for us. In Yiddish it rhymes as well.

We can all point to situations in life where we put great energy into a certain path in life, only to have the rug torn out from under our feet. G-d had other plans.

Yiddish is a rich language and it often does away with conventional diplomacy in order to make a point. It’s no wonder that this saying pulls no punches in describing G-d as laughing at our grandiose plans.

I wonder, however, if that is really the sole intent. And, if it remains so, is it accurate? Do… Read More »

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