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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.

A Peek Under the Hood

We had some trouble with our furnace this week. It’s not pleasant when you need to figure out why your heat isn’t working in middle of the winter.

We are fortunate to have a friend who is an HVAC expert and he came out to have a look and troubleshoot the issue. He checked out all types of gadgets and parts inside the furnace and made some tweaks. Hopefully, all is well now.

It reminded me about this week’s parsha Beshalach. We read about the famous story of the Splitting of the Sea. After the Jews departed the horrible prison of Egypt, they found themselves stuck between the sea and Pharaohs advancing army. G-d gave them instructions, “Move forward.” Indeed, they marched forward and, miraculously, the sea spl… Read More »

Come on in!

In 1951 on the tenth of Shevat (which is marked tomorrow) the Lubavitcher Rebbe accepted the leadership of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. He had actually been leading the Chassidim ever since his father-in-law’s passing in 1950. But, he did not formally accept the role of Rebbe until Yud Shevat a year later.

During his inaugural address the Rebbe expounded upon a verse in Shir Hashirim (Son of Songs), which states: “I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride.” Quoting the Midrash, the Rebbe explained that Almighty G-d is stating that He wishes to return to His garden, which is this world.

The beginning of Creation saw G-d comfortably “at home” in His garden, the Garden of Eden. However, subsequent human fa… Read More »

Once Upon a Time

The most famous stories all seem to begin with Once Upon a Time. And they all appear impossible to occur today.

The very words, “Once upon a time,” conjure the image of something legendary and perhaps beyond repetition.

But what if we could relive the ages long bygone? Would that be good or bad?

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In this week’s parsha of Va’eirah the Jewish people begin the process that will lead to their liberation from Egyptian bondage. The first seven of the ten plagues befall Egypt, but the wicked Pharaoh is still reluctant to let the Jewish people go.

Eventually – after ten plagues – he urges them to leave.

This is a story so essential to Judaism that most of our Festivals revolve around it, most notably Pesac… Read More »

Supernatural Resolutions?

“Rabbi, which resolution should I take on this year?”

“Rabbi, for some reason I’m never able to keep my resolutions. What should I do?”

These are the types of questions I receive at this time of year.

Of course, I have a whole laundry list of suggestions, starting with Advice for Life.

But, as far as a general approach to resolutions, this parsha might offer some insight. In the opening eponymous parsha of Shemot, we are introduced to the great Jewish leader Moshe.

Moshe’s first encounter with G-d is described in the Torah as follows:

An angel of the L-rd appeared to him in a flame of fire from within the thorn bush, and behold, the thorn bush was burning with fire, but the thorn bush was not being …Read More »

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