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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.

Always on the Move

Ian. Sounds like such an innocent name. Yet, caused so much destruction.

When tragedies like Hurricane Ian hit, we are reminded of the great valor of people who are concerned with others. It’s natural to be preoccupied with self-survival when faced with life-threatening and life-savings-destroying catastrophes.

I am touched at the heroic efforts of so many wonderful people that were on the front lines of the storm and put their own priorities aside to help others. Not least of them, my fellow colleagues with Chabad in Florida. One of them, a former roommate of mine, commissioned a boat to rescue a nearby family trapped in their home.

I am reminded of the lesson from this week’s Torah portion Vayelech.

It’s the very… Read More »

Home Repair

Have you ever had a broken appliance to deal with? In our present dispensable era, fixing appliances is less and less common. I can’t imagine how many repair shops have closed down in my lifetime.

How about a leaky faucet or broken air conditioner?

We once had a leak that lasted for months (possibly years) without being able to trace the source.  It seemed to subside, but then came back. After much problem-solving, we finally discovered the culprit: A cracked valve in a second-story bathroom.  The water was continuously leaking drip by drip until enough had accumulated that it seeped through the floorboards and through the downstairs ceiling. Now we had a puddle on our dining room floor.

The crack was tiny, but the… Read More »

Mining for Gold

On a recent family camping trip, we came across a defunct power plant deep in the national forest. The nearest town is about 30 minutes away by car. The plant is about 100 years old, but closed down in the sixties with the advent of diesel.

The plant relied on miles of piping from a nearby lake, an impressive building and a huge amount of manpower. It was a tremendous feat to build. It was an even greater challenge to run and maintain.

I wondered why this plant was built in such a remote location. As I explored the history of the plant, I learned that the plant was not built to support the needs of area towns and cities. Rather, it was built to provide electricity to one enterprise – a nearby gold mine.

If you were mining for… Read More »

G-d Save the King

The United Kingdom is mourning the loss of a monarch.

The United Kingdom is celebrating the ascension of a new monarch.

The national anthem switched from “G-d Save the Queen” to “G-d Save the King.”

It is rather fascinating that both events – with contrary emotions – concur.

How does a nation (or nations in this case) cope with both emotions at the same time?

I’ve also always wondered how a country has been able to maintain – with such passion and dignity – the concept of a monarchy in our day and age, and in a Westernized country.

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In this week’s parsha Ki Tetzei, we learn about the Jewish laws of marriage and divorce.

Our Sages teach that the concept of marriage… Read More »

The Heroism of Cowardice

Being a coward is something looked down upon by society. I remember one Chanukah night in Newark, New Jersey as a yeshivah student. I was waiting for a bus after leading a Chanukah party for elderly Jews at an old age home. I was not from the neighborhood and should have known better. In a few moments, I was virtually surrounded by some teenagers up to no good.  I could have stood my ground. But instead, realizing I was outnumbered and outsized, I noticed an escape route out of the corner of my eye and bolted.  I managed to get away unharmed and with my wallet still intact. How I outpaced the gang is still a mystery to me.

I don’t tell the story to display my courage because some will say I should have fought back. But, in… Read More »

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