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.

Are We Together?

The world as we knew it a few weeks ago is not the world we know today.

In the last few days, much of our assumptions have been tossed to the wayside. Full-blown war between Russia and Ukraine is the devastating reality. It’s unfathomable. Yet it is real.

My colleague, Rabbi Levi Greenberg of El Paso, Texas, shared the following insight:

For weeks foreigners in Ukraine were warned to leave. But on Thursday morning, as the invasion began, I paid more attention than usual to the news because I have close family there in several cities currently under attack. All of them are foreigners and yet they chose to stay despite all the warnings. Why?

The short answer is that they are the Chabad emissaries entrusted with the responsibility of…Read More »

A Gari Moment

The Jews had just committed a grave sin.

Less than six weeks after experiencing the most unique interaction with their Creator at Sinai, the Jewish people worshipped a golden calf. Moshe, their leader, had been studying the Torah with G-d on top of Mt. Sinai and descended the mountain with two tablets of stone in his hands. Prepared to deliver the Ten Commandments to the people, he instead is witness to the treasonous act. Immediately, he smashes the Tablets and scolds the people.

Eventually they repent and Moshe intercedes on their behalf and G-d forgives them. The sign of their pardon is the second set of Tablets that G-d ultimately grants them.

We can understand Moshe’s reluctance to give the unworthy Jews the Divine Tablets. … Read More »

Crushed, Not Broken

One of my most awkward moments in yeshiva was when a Rabbi called me over and asked me about a subject matter I was not studying at the time. To me it seemed like a typical “gotcha” question; a tough Jewish trivia challenge at which I was bound to fail.  Indeed, I was caught off guard and had no clue as to the answer.

The Rabbi sensed my frustration.  Patiently, he sat down and explained to me, “I only asked you this question because I believed in you. I wanted to see you shine.  I wouldn’t have asked it had I not held out hope that you would respond correctly. That would have given me the greatest nachas.”

His sincere explanation has stayed with me throughout life.  Often, we look at chal… Read More »

Team USA

As the Olympics get underway, lots of focus is on the performance of an amazing cadre of competitors.  Love or hate the Olympics, it is a unique competition at two levels.

On the one hand, some of the world’s best athletes are looking to stand out. They have competed in international competitions and national trials.

On the other hand, they are not simply acting in their own stead. They are endeavoring to earn medals for their home country.

Their achievements are their own.

And yet, their achievements belong to the community of citizens they represent.


In this week’s Parsha of Terumah we learn about the instruction to erect the Mishkan, a traveling Sanctuary.  G-d’s command is clear: “Speak to the c… Read More »

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