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 Night of Day

Our day starts at night.

Just look at the first chapter of the Torah.

It’s often a hassle to explain to those unfamiliar with the Jewish faith. All days on the Jewish calendar begin at nightfall.  Shabbat begins on Friday night.  Passover this year will begin on April 22 at sundown. It is, after all, a more accurate calendar that follows the universe in which we dwell.

However, in this week’s parsha, Tzav, we find an exception to this otherwise ironclad system.  The fire on the altar in the Bait Hamikdash remained burning all night. Sacrifices that had not yet been completed during the day were offered at night. In this respect, the night followed the day.

Why the exception? And, what is the lesson for us?

Da… Read More »

Organically Alone

The Economist magazine’s cover this week had two words on it, “Israel Alone.” I did not read the article, but the premise it posits is simple. Israel needs international support for its legitimacy. And, that support is slipping away, leaving Israel isolated. Even Jewish American politicians have raised the alarm, with Senator Chuck Schumer recently saying that Israel’s “future could well be over” without US support.

Is Israel at risk of becoming a pariah state? Should Israel kowtow to worldwide pressure, or should Israel do what is just and proper regardless of what others think?

In 1972, during one of Yitzchak Rabin’s visits to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe discussed with him the concept of Je… Read More »

The Mainstay

It’s always a pleasure to travel to see your children. I’m looking forward to enjoying a wonderful Shabbat where I get to be a yeshiva bochur again. I have three sons studying in Chicago, and I’ll try my best to shake off the rust and keep up with them during my visit.

I feel immensely at home in yeshiva. I dream of these opportunities. It is an infusion to the spirit; a refreshing quench to a parched soul.

Yet, home is still with my family. Cooking dinner, fixing leaks, leading a community.

Do I celebrate more the opportunities for a “high” – be they vacations of the body or the soul – or the daily life I have?


In this week’s parsha Pekudei we wrap up learning about the Mishkan, the Ta… Read More »

The Perfect Congress

These days even the suggestion that Congress can get it right might seem ludicrous to many.  The squabbling over procedure and the seemingly endless delays suggest we are in need of a major overhaul. We wonder why the buck seems to always be passed.

I will leave it for the pundits to determine what the real goal is and whether our legislature can indeed get it right.

For Jews we have been looking to perfect congress for many centuries.

And in this week’s Torah portion of Vayakhel we are given the Divine recipe for getting it right. What we are searching for is not the legal code of Congress, but rather a congress (assembly) with our Creator.  We often struggle with the challenge of merging with an infinite G-d. How can we… Read More »

Broken, But Whole

If a survey was taken to rate Moshe’s greatest achievement in the Torah, what would it be?

I’d wager that the Ten Plagues would be high on the list, along with the Splitting of the Sea, and the Giving of the Torah.

The very final verse of the Torah extols Moshe’s virtues and lists his major achievements. According to Rashi, the crowning achievement is a rather strange one. It is the shattering of the Tablets, a story that appears in this week’s parsha of Ki Tisa. After the Jews sinned by worshipping the Golden Calf, Moshe arrives and breaks the Tablets that he was due to deliver from G-d to the Jewish people.

We can all understand that the Jewish people were not worthy of receiving the Luchot (Tablets) at that mom… Read More »

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