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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Emily Hand was orphaned from her mother at two years old. Learning to live without her mother would prove to be just a small part of Emily’s endurance.

On October 7 the Irish-Israeli eight-year-old was abducted by a terrorist and brought into Gaza as a hostage.

After nearly two months she was released and reunited with her father, Thomas. He is overjoyed at her safe reunion.

However, after a few weeks he noticed that she still speaks in whispers. The terrorists did not let them speak in normal tones. She had become so accustomed to whisper – on pain of death – that it has become the only thing she knows.

She is free from Hamas, but cannot rid herself of Hamas.


In this week’s parsha Vayechi, the Jewish people … Read More »

Acts of G-d

Insurance companies usually worship the mighty dollar. But, for certain events, they become earnestly religious and consider G-d to be the responsible party.

Ever reviewed the fine print of your homeowner’s insurance policy? Likely, there is a clause in it addressing – and possibly excluding coverage for – “acts of G-d.”

Acts of G-d are usually defined as events outside of human control which cannot be prevented. Examples include tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, volcanoes, severe hail, earthquakes and floods.

Do we believe in “acts of G-d”? Should certain occurrences be designated as different than others?


When Yoseph finally reveals his identity to his dumbstruck brothers, he tells them, &l… Read More »

A Shining Transition

Chanukah is often referred to informally as the Festival of Lights. (Just for the record, it is not an official name of Chanukah and does not appear in any ancient Jewish literature).  It is a time when we celebrate light over darkness. We kindle the menorah, specifically at night and specifically toward the outside. These acts demonstrate that light shall prevail over darkness.

The significance of light is evident from the very opening verses of the Torah. Light was created on the first day of Creation (interestingly, the sun, moon and stars were created on day four).

The truth is that light was not the original, default state. If you look at the Torah’s account of Creation, there was darkness and chaos first. Additionally, th… Read More »

The Authentic Signature

After the Maccabees successfully drove the Greek-Syrians out and retook the Temple in Jerusalem, their first call of duty was reestablishing the rites of the Temple. They found lots of oil in the Temple, but only one jug that had the seal of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) still intact. We are familiar with the miraculous ending of the story – the oil lasted not one day, but eight. Hence, the eight days of Chanukah.

But, if the Greeks were aiming to prevent the Jews from practicing the Temple rituals, why not steal all the oil altogether?


A Rembrandt piece of art is auctioned for millions of dollars and original classic cars are sold for several hundred thousand dollars because of their unique quality and limited availability. But … Read More »

A Perpetual State of War?

Our hearts are split. We are joyous for the hostages that have been able to reunite with their families. And, we are heartbroken for those that are still in the hands of terrorists.

Alas, the war between Israel and barbaric Hamas continues.

How do we ensure that good prevails over evil?


In this week’s parsha Vayishlach, Yaakov meets up with his brother Eisav for the first time in over three decades. Eisav had pledged to murder Yaakov, causing him to flee.  His pledge was not simply bombastic rhetoric. He backed it up with action, sending his son Eliphaz to pursue Yaakov.  Many years later – with no upgrade in the relationship – Yaakov was heading back to Israel.

The report was not encouraging: Eisav was he… Read More »

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