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.

Give and Take

The holiday of Shavuot begins tonight. It is commonly referred to as the time of Kabbalat HaTorah, receiving the Torah, commemorating the event of Revelation at Sinai 3335 years ago.  In the Chassidic community it is customary to wish each other, “Kabbalat HaTorah B’Simcha U’bipnimiyut,” meaning “May you receive the Torah with joy and internalization.”

If we look at the liturgy for the holiday, the name of Shavuot in the siddur is “the Festival of the Giving the Torah.”

So which one is it? Is it the celebration of receiving the Torah or of giving the Torah?  Obviously, both occurred.  Any gifting between two parties results in a give and take.  But why the discrepancy in … Read More »

Identity Theft

It happened again. My credit card was compromised. Thankfully, the issuer flagged it, canceled the card and issued a new one. But, fraud and identity theft is becoming more and more of a concern.

How many advertisements a day do we hear about identity theft?  It may begin with a stolen credit card number, but if identity thieves get your detailed private information they can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life.

As technology continues to develop, concerns about safeguarding information rise. Part of that concern circles around intricate codes and numbers. After all, there may be many Jacob Goldsteins out there, but only one has the social security number with 3841 as the last four digits.

Imagine if we did away with soci… Read More »

Labor of Love

It was Simchat Torah, and the disciples of Rabbi Mendel of Horodok, many of whom had journeyed for weeks to spend the joyous festival with their Rebbe, were awaiting his entrance to the synagogue for the recital of the preliminary Atah Hareisah verses and the hakafot procession. Yet the Rebbe did not appear. Hours passed, and still Rabbi Mendel was secluded in his room.

Finally, they approached Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who would later found the Chabad movement.  Perhaps Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who was revered and loved by Rabbi Mendel, would attempt what no other Chassid would dare: enter the Rebbe’s room and ask him to join his anxiously awaiting followers.

When Rabbi Schneur Zalman entered Rabbi Mendel’s study, he found the … Read More »


It’s not easy being a community without a home. As construction at the Chabad Jewish center progresses, it’s exciting to see the end in sight!

In some sense it must be providential that we are at this stage during the counting of the Omer.

In fact, this week’s Torah portion, Emor, speaks of the mitzvah to count the Omer. Our tradition teaches that the 49 days of counting the Omer correspond to the 49 days that the Jewish people counted from when they left Egypt until they received the Torah at Sinai.

In modern times anticipating a great event such as a new year or a rocket launch is marked by counting down to zero, when the event occurs.

But our ancestors followed a different pattern.  One might argue that the Jew… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.