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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All Jews!

In lieu of a personal message, please enjoy this piece by my colleague and former yeshiva-mate, By Rabbi Eli Friedman (Chabad of Calabasas).

The Talmud in Tractate Sukkah makes the following statement: "All Jews are worthy of sitting in the same Sukkah."


All Jews!


And some will ask, "What about those Jews who don't keep the holiday of Sukkot?"


All Jews.


And some will ask, "What about those Jews who want to change Israel's judicial system?"


All Jews.


And some will ask, "What about those Jews who voted for so-and-so?"

All Jews.


And some will ask, "What about those Jews who protest against the Israeli government at the UN?"

Read More »


It’s easy to make declarations.

With a Facebook account or a tweet, you can declare your positions, what you ate for breakfast, or any type of provocative statements. Some will garner a reaction, and others will be ignored.

I assume that people that make declarations – be they in person or virtually – are looking to elicit a response, whether verbal or not. Without any response, my efforts seem not to matter.

In this week’s parsha Haazinu, we are taught to “Proclaim the Name of G-d.” The Sages teach, based on this verse, that whenever the explicit Name of G-d was pronounced in the Temple, whoever heard it responded with the phrase, “May the Name of the glory of His kingdom be blessed forever and … Read More »

Our Birthday

Judaism teaches us that birthdays are special.

There are many important customs that we observe on birthdays, such as beginning to recite a new chapter of Tehillim (Psalms) corresponding to our age.

Birthdays are not a time to merely revel in the gifts and fun of parties.

Rather, a birthday is a celebratory, yet introspective time. It’s a time to celebrate me. Because I matter. G-d does not many any junk. If I exist, I am irreplaceable and I am critical to the world order. My birthday is G-d’s vote of confidence in me. Now, that’s worthy of a L’Chaim.

But, it’s also a time to reflect. If I am so valuable to the Almighty, how am I performing? Am I living up to my expectations. Am I living up to His expectati… Read More »

A Letter in the Scroll

In 2015 someone developed a robot that held a quill and wrote out the words of the entire Torah on parchment. While it sounds cool, it was not a kosher Torah scroll. It might look and feel like a Torah scroll, but it was completely invalid.



In this week’s double parsha, Nitzavim-Vayelech, the instruction is given to write a Torah scroll. This is the final of 613 commandments in the Torah.

As Rabbah states in the Talmud: Even though our ancestors have left us a scroll of the Torah, it is our duty to write one for ourselves, as it is said: “Now therefore write this song, and teach it to the people of Israel; put it in their mouths.”

Why, however, is the Torah referred to as a song?


Although we have advanced g… Read More »

It’s the Torah, Stupid

At a meeting this week, a law enforcement officer inquired how to define someone as being Jewish. There are many responses to this question. In fact, there are many facets to the question itself. For law enforcement, whose role is to serve and protect, it might mean one thing – and subsequently require a fitting response.

But, what does it mean to us Jews ourselves?

There are the obvious technical responses – one born to a Jewish mother or one who has undergone a halachic conversion to Judaism.

Yet, historians, scholars, and anthropologists still cannot agree on Jewish peoplehood and identity.

For some Jews, our common history is most prominent. For others, it is the shared homeland, Israel. Jewish culture and cuisine might … Read More »

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