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.

Off By a Few Thousand Years

The path to peace is elusive. The path to peace is around the corner. The path to peace depends on a two-state solution. The path to peace depends on occupying Gaza. The path to peace depends on a one-state solution. The path to peace depends on Oslo. The path to peace depends on disengagement. The path to peace depends on the IDF. The path to peace depends on getting rid of Netanyahu. The path to peace depends on America.


I could go on forever. But, my head is already spinning.

So, how should a Jew think?

Let’s not get distracted with questions of whether Israel should compromise this or that for peace.  At the end of the day, all of these ideas are utilizing a certain time period as the premise for a Jewish presence in … Read More »

Frequent Reminders

I often find myself adding multiple reminders in my calendar for the same task. Despite the reminder appearing the first time, I don’t quite manage to get the task done. So, I set a second reminder.

Other times, I am concerned that I’ll miss that early morning flight, so I set multiple alarms.

We humans suffer from fickleness and complacency. So, we often need repeated reminders about the same event, idea, or task.

In this week’s parsha Behar, we learn about the laws of Yovel and Shemitah. Yovel is the Jubilee year and Shemitah is the Sabbatical year. Yovel occurs every 50 years and Shemitah occurs every 7 years.

These events are designed to serve as reminders that G-d is the true Owner of this world. The land, real es… Read More »

Undamaged Goods

I spent last Shabbat in Santa Fe, New Mexico at a regional conference for Shluchim in the Western USA. It was a pleasure to join dozens of my fellow colleagues for a weekend of learning, sharing, and training.

Although we serve very different communities, we all share a common goal. It’s refreshing and invigorating to hear the stories, challenges, and successes of these fellow rabbis. We truly feel like family.

The boost that we get from collaborating with others puts an extra bounce in our step. We feel like we are part of one whole – one army on a mission inspired by the Rebbe to make this world a holy dwelling place for Hashem.

Every morning before we pray, we recite the following: I hereby take upon myself to fulfill the …Read More »

Foreign Soil

A father came to me in tears.

His child studies at an American university and has started to doubt aligning with Jews after October 7. It’s not because of fear. It’s because the ideology he is exposed to on campus, which has spread like wildfire.


The unrest on college campuses across America – and beyond – is alarming. 

Antisemitism is nothing new, but Jews in America have come to appreciate the calm and relative peacefulness that has prevailed for the last half-century.

Knowing that there are enemies that wish our destruction is not new – nor do I expect it to change until Moshiach comes and the world fulfills its purpose of existence.

However, the bigger concern for us as Jews is the fact that th… Read More »


I visited an elderly member of Boise’s Jewish community today in the hospital. We chatted a bit and then we said the Shema. The doctors indicated that his health was deteriorating, but he was in good spirits.

An hour after I left I received word from his family that he had passed. Although he was in poor health, it still seemed sudden.

I was thankful that I was able to say some prayers with him and offer him and his family support in his final moments.


This week’s Torah portions is called Acharei Mot, or “after the death,” based on the opening verse, “And G-d spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron's two sons, when they drew near before the L-rd, and they died.”

Why do we name a Torah portion in su… Read More »

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