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.

The Fifth Son

The Midrash tells how, one day, a lamb ran away from the flock under Moses' care. Moses chased after it, until it came to a spring and began to drink. When Moses reached the lamb he cried: "Oh, I did not know that you were thirsty!" He cradled the runaway lamb in his arms and carried it to the flock. Said the Almighty: "You are merciful in tending a lost sheep - you will tend My flock, the people of Israel."

This was indeed the defining mark of leadership. Although Moses was a great prophet and the conveyor of Torah to the Jewish people, his greatest moment may have been his refusal to abandon the Jewish people after the sin of the Golden Calf.  Most leaders would have been disgusted with such a severe act of betra… Read More »

Stones of Heart

I just returned from the Holy Land.

Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, each step is measured and meaningful. Who walked on these stones before me? What is the story that they tell? Thousand of years of Jewish life. Dozens of rulers and civilizations. Countless lives uplifted and shattered. Dejection, jubilation, and hope.

It’s amazing how these stones, inanimate and hard, are actually warm and soft. Their ridges and toughness is inviting and rejuvenating. They may be stones, but they are uniquely alive. They tell a story. And, they tell it with heart.


The Book of Vayikra/Leviticus, which we begin reading this week, is replete with laws pertaining to the Temple service.  In fact, many refer to it as Torat Kohanim, the… Read More »

Building for Eternity

Spending time in the Holy Land of Israel is always special. Spending it with members of our community is extra special. And, spending it with over 700 fellow Jews from sister Chabad centers is simply amazing.

As we walk the streets of Jerusalem I am struck at the history that these stones speak. Every step is laden with meaning. Generations have come and gone and each of them have left a message. That message is expressed in the structures, the burial places, and the trees.

Eight-hundred-year-old olive trees tell the tales of communities that invested in the earth to feed themselves and many generations to come.  Structures from medieval times tell of the constant conquest of Jerusalem, trading hands again and again. The burial sites… Read More »

Artificial Love

Implanting chips in animals is one of the hotly debated moral questions of the day.

Could humans be next? Will AI take over all of our decisions soon?

Is this message being written by ChatGPT?

So, should we kiss our own brains goodbye?  Are we soon to be dominated by computer overlords?

I am reminded of the excitement when virtual pets became… reality.  If you are allergic to cats, no problem. Just sign up for a digital cat and you can enjoy all the responsibilities and companionship of a real-life pet.

But can a virtual pet replace a real one? Can a computer replace a human mind?


A great Chassidic Rebbe once commented that people do not love money -- because money does not love people, as we see that it can sudden… Read More »

The Missing G-d

The story is told of a CEO who was running late to a very important meeting. This was going to be the biggest business deal of his life, worth millions.  He pulls up at the office building in his car, looking frantically for a parking spot.  None are available. Though not much of the religious type, he calls out to G-d:  “If you find me a parking spot in the next two minutes, I’ll give $10,000 to charity.”  He desperately circles around the parking lot for another minute and calls out: “G-d, I’ll give $100,000 to charity if you find me a place to park in the next 90 seconds!”  Ten seconds later a car pulls out of a spot directly in front of the building. As he zooms in, he shouts … Read More »

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