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.
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The Iconoclast

Ever wonder where the term Ivrit comes from. Ivrit, the word for modern Hebrew, is taken from the word Ivri.

So, what does Ivri mean and where does it come from?

We are introduced to the word Ivri in this week’s parsha of Lech lecha.

It was, in fact, the title of the first Jew. Avraham is referred to in the Torah as Avraham Ha’Ivri, Abraham the Hebrew.  In fact, if you look more closely at the words, you will notice that Hebrew is simply a transliteration of the original Ivri.

The problem is that there was no Hebrew nation at the time. So, what does the word Ivri mean?

Rashi points out that Ivri (עברי) stems from the word Ever (עבר), which means the other side. Avraham received this nickname because he was on the &ldqu… Read More »

A Nation of Noahs

I heard a remark from someone recently that Israel needs a Zelensky. When Ukraine was being attacked by a huge army and missiles poured down on Kyiv, President Zelensky stood proudly in the streets in his green shirt. That act of courage galvanized the support and willpower of the Ukrainian people. If only Israel had such a leader…

The more I thought about this comment, the more I realized how wrong it is.

Israel doesn’t need a courageous and charismatic leader to propel it forward.

Israel is a nation of thousands and millions of ‘Zelenskys.’

The stories pouring out of Israel, of common folk saving dozens of lives, of reservists rushing back to Israel from overseas voluntarily, of Jews across the world mobilizin… Read More »

No Words

I don’t have words to write today.

Every Jew’s heart has been aching. More than we knew we could handle.

As this difficult week comes to a close, I remember that we are reading Parshat Bereishit this week. The first parsha. The story of Genesis – beginning. The act of Creation.

We have completed the Torah and we are starting anew.

The exact path of the current situation that our brothers and sisters in the Holy land are experiencing, is unclear.

But, this parsha gives me a boost of faith and hope in a time of unjust cruelty, atrocities, and suffering. It reminds me that there is a new beginning ahead. I cannot understand the how and when, but I sense that we, the eternal people, will recover and prevail.

I recount th… Read More »

Dancing Legs

Yesterday, my wife Esther gave birth to a baby girl. Our daughter arrived a bit early, but we are grateful for the gift whenever it comes. Thank G-d, mother and baby are well.

I was holding my precious daughter and thinking about the infinite gift of life that Esther and I are privileged to have received. The word precious isn’t really enough to describe the emotions of holding a new baby – even if you’ve done this eleven times before.

As I pondered this, my thoughts wandered to the upcoming celebration of Simchat Torah this Saturday night, when we will dance with the most precious object in Judaism – the holy Torah Scroll. Embracing a baby and embracing the Torah certainly share many similarities. Perhaps the most… Read More »

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