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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Covering One’s Bases

A pharmacist shared with me the following incident that occurred almost half a century ago.  An elderly woman was waiting for him to mix a prescription, which – in those days – meant weighing each ingredient on a scale.  One of the ingredients was highly toxic, but acceptable in minute doses within a compound. He was carefully spilling a few tiny grains at a time onto the scale to ensure that he did not endanger the patient by exceeding the prescription.

The lady – impatient and agitated at his methodical and slow process – called out, “Why are you being so stingy? Pour it in! Pour it in!”

Sometimes we ought to be careful what we are asking for.


In this week’s double Parsha of … Read More »

No One Left Behind

The world has been glued to the broad rescue efforts of so many for the Titan, a submersible watercraft containing five people seeking a glimpse of the Titanic. Unfortunately, we recently learned of the tragic fate of all five passengers.


In the 1950s there weren’t many observant Jewish overnight camps in the US. One day, shortly after the Chabad movement opened one of the first such overnight camps in update New York, the Lubavitcher Rebbe got wind that another Jewish camp was about to fold.

When the Rebbe heard this, he immediately sent a message to this group, asking for a reason why they were planning to close their doors. The response was simple. We don’t have the funds to continue, they explained.

The Rebbe immediate… Read More »

Optional Mandates

A Jerusalem Post article this week talks about the dramatic shift in the American Jewish landscape seen through the lens of Chabad rabbis graduating at my alma mater, the Rabbinical College of America.  Despite the fact that the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s passing was nearly 29 years ago, Chabad keeps on growing.

As we approach the Rebbe’s yahrzeit next week, it’s appropriate to focus on the lessons he taught. Perhaps this can help us understand his legacy.

Here’s a lesson the Rebbe taught on this week’s parsha Shelach.

The Torah portion opens with G-d’s statement to Moshe: Send out for yourself men who will scout the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel.

The Midrash explains that … Read More »

The Right Thing in the Right Time

A popular saying chides, “The right thing in the wrong time is the wrong thing.”

Eating your vegetables might be great. But not on Yom Kippur.

Volunteering at the hospital is commendable. But not during your daughter’s graduation.

In a world of contrasts we often get lost with considering what is considered correct or incorrect without concern for context.

The greatest of men taught us a great lesson when he prayed. When Moshe prayed for his sister Miriam to be healed, he uttered but five Hebrew words, translated as, “I beseech You, O G-d, heal her now.” Not exactly the most elaborate prayer.

And it’s not because he was short on prayers. Nor was he one to dismiss lengthy prayer. In fact, when asking … Read More »

Trap Games

Teams have a tendency to look past a weak opponent when preparing for a subsequent game against a stronger opponent, or have a letdown after beating a tough opponent. In sports, the mantra of, “One game at a time!” and “The season begins and ends today,” are ways of preventing the trap game mentality.

A great athlete is one who always invests maximal preparation and effort no matter the opponent and regardless of recent success or failure.


In this week’s parsha of Naso (the Torah’s longest at 176 verses) we find G-d’s instruction to the Kohanim to bless the Jewish people, as follows:

“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them:…Read More »

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