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.

A Real Hero?

Who is George Santos?

Most of us cannot properly answer that question. In a fact-is-stranger-than-fiction Capitol-Hill-reality-show, we keep learning more about how little we knew about the Congressman from New York’s third district. Many of his claims have been debunked – including that his Jewish grandparents fled Nazi Europe.

While people seek answers, it jolts us into thinking about the people we idolize, admire or “follow.” Are they, in their real lives, the heroes (or cowards) that we truly wish to emulate (or despise)? Do they exist in the way we believe or have we simply molded them into something that fits our perception, hopes and dreams?


In this week’s Parsha of Bo the Torah testifies that, &… Read More »

Houdini’s Magic

My son once bought a magic trick set. He was so proud of the few tricks that he had mastered. He was longing for the opportunity to show off these tricks (after subjecting the family to incessant renditions). He had ample chance to do so and enjoyed his new hobby.  Until he met his match.  When he went to a ‘real’ magic show, his heart sunk. “I can never do those types of tricks.”

It’s one thing to impress family and friends. But to impress the pros is a different league altogether.


When Moshe and Aharon brought forth the first few miracles and plagues in Egypt, Par’oh was not impressed.

The Midrash recounts that Pharaoh began to mock them and crow at them like a cock, saying to them: &quo… Read More »

Who Owes Whom?

It’s a new secular year and it may be time to start thinking about our tax bill. In the United States, taxes are generally owed in arrears (though employers may take it off employees’ paychecks).

The question often arises: Who owes whom? Some citizens owe the government money and others are due a refund. There are so many factors involved that even accountants can get confused. And, the laws keep changing.

In essence, however, the debate rages on. Individual cases vary, but the financial and philosophical query applies to all. Are citizens indebted to their government, or is the state indebted to its citizens?


In this week’s parsha Shemot we read about Hashem choosing Moshe to deliver the Jewish people from Egyptia… Read More »


As we move on from Chanukah, I’m reminded of the annual discussion about gifts. Aside from the debate on how many gifts to give our children, where does this tradition stem from, and gifts vs. gelt – there is another dilemma to deal with. That is the challenge of giving presents to all of our children without causing too much sibling rivalry or jealousy. Lately, we’ve been trying to focus more on shared gifts to eliminate such concerns.

Perhaps we can take a cue from this week’s Parsha of Vayechi, in which Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons Menashe and Ephraim.  Jacob gives a greater blessing to Ephraim, the younger son.  Over Joseph’s protests, Jacob switches his hands in order to place his right… Read More »

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