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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.

After-Death

 

This week’s Torah portion is called Acharei Mot, or “after the death,” based on the opening verse, “And G-d spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron's two sons, when they drew near before the L-rd, and they died.”

Why do we name a Torah portion in such a fashion? What message is there in this name that the Torah wishes to convey?

Much ink has been spilled on the meaning of death, the effects of tragedy and the Jewish approach to mourning. Certainly there are lessons to be learned from the death of Aaron’s two sons. But the Torah’s emphasis on after death, versus death itself must mean more.

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A deeper look into the parsha demonstrates another perplexing concept of… Read More »

A Certain Future

We’d like to hope that our future is promising.

We’d like to imagine that war, economic uncertainty, health issues and the nasty neighbor next door are things of the past.

But, alas, none of us can tell the future, so we remain dependent on the volatile situation at hand.

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In Jewish history we, too, have lived perpetually in fear of all sorts of challenges.  Every time things look up for the Jewish people – physically or spiritually – we constantly have our eyes looking around the corner for the next trouble ahead. The Haggadah itself reminds us of this notion, with its piercing words, “This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in… Read More »

Third Party Intervention

From hostile Twitter Takeovers to surprising Sinking Ships in the Black Sea, calls abound for others to intervene.

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Rewind 3300 years. Similarly, Egypt was going engaging in intense oppression.  Moshe had recently arrived on the scene with a promise to liberate the Jewish people from the atrocities of their oppressor, Pharaoh.

The Jews themselves appeared helpless at the hands of a brutal dictator. But the power of the Almighty changed the balance of power.  Ten plagues and many miracles later, G-d whisked them out of Egypt to the new frontier of freedom.

We would be mistaken to assume that they lived happily ever after and the story ends there. In truth, their journey had just begun.  They prepared spiritually for 49… Read More »

Tall & Humble

Time and again, those recalling their private encounters with Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, mention the simplicity and modesty of the Rebbe’s office and surroundings. The Rebbe, it’s fair to say, led a worldwide revolution of Jewish thought and practice. Yet, it was all orchestrated without the trappings of typical bureaucracy, grandeur and pomp.

Apart from other Chassidic Rebbes, the Rebbe did not wear the luxurious, princely garb of Chassidic royalty. He dressed like any other Chassid.

Apart from other Jewish leaders, one did not need connections to see the Rebbe. To be sure, one had to book an appointment months in advance (due to the incredible demand). But, anyone could do so. The Rebbe’s… Read More »

Cleaning House

World events leave us wondering how the world will look in a year or two.  The current war and terror spike in Israel give rise to the speculation of whether we will be so fortunate to live in a more peaceful world.

Some argue that democracy and progress is inevitable in our new internet-driven global community. It’s only a matter of time before the despots are deposed and the masses are empowered.  Others caution that for every step forward we seem to experience a step or two backward, as evidenced in the ongoing conflict and terror.

Perhaps our own history can shed some light on the process of transition.

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This Shabbat is known as Shabbat HaChodesh. On it we study the final of four distinct Torah readings, leading… Read More »

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