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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.

Blaming G-d

At some point in our lives, we inevitably blame G-d.

If something goes wrong, we sometimes blame others. Once in a while, we even blame ourselves.

But, when we are out of options, we simply blame G-d.

Even atheists sometimes blame G-d. “I don’t believe in G-d because G-d would never allow A, B or C to happen.” This is actually putting blame on G-d.

So, the inevitable question is, “Who does G-d blame when things go wrong?”

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In this week’s Parsha of Re’ei, the Torah enjoins us to “cleave to G-d” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 12:5).  The Sages of the Talmud interpret this commandment to mean that we must “cleave to His ways: bestow kindness, bury the dead, and visit the sick, just… Read More »

Lip Service?

Unfortunately, we have been witness in the last months to war and provocation. Fears persist over possible nuclear disasters, exacerbated by the fog of war. Fighter jets over the Taiwan Strait and space malfunctions are other recents concerns.

One thing is certain: We are skating on the edge. One press of a button, or one small shift and a lot of damage can be done.

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In this week’s parsha Eikev we learn about the mitzvah to pray to G-d. Actually, the Torah merely states, “To love G-d your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart.” The Talmud explains that this is prayer.

Isn’t it ironic that what the Torah considers a ‘service of the heart’ is essentially a ritual many perceive as a matter of rote?… Read More »

American Jew or Jewish American?

We just wrapped up an amazing session of Camp Gan Israel! It is truly enriching to watch the boys and girls have so much fun celebrating their Jewishness. From davening to ceramics; from Wahooz to swimming; from Jewish songs to face painting; from vegetable gardens to Challah baking; from sports to kosher lunches – the Jewish pride was oozing out from all sides.

These children displayed that being a modern, proud American and being a proud Jew go hand in hand.

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So, which is more important – being Jewish or being American?

Truth be told there is no contradiction between the two whatsoever, and I am proud to be both. And, I am even more proud of our younger generation – a generation untainted by the traumas of… Read More »

Visions from a Visionary

When my sons were at the ages where sports reign supreme, they were finally ready for their own baseball gloves.  And they let my wife and me know that.

We decided that receiving the mitts would be contingent on how well they studied.  It’s especially important to create incentives for academic diligence, in particular Torah study, during the summer months. 

I was about to tell them that when they learned a specific amount of Tanya by heart, we would purchase the gloves for them.  But then my wife reminded me of the meaning of this Shabbat. It is the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’Av, the day of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. It is considered a tragic day in Jewish history and is marked by… Read More »

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