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.

Swimming Upstream

When my kids ask if they can jump in the canal for a swim, I remind them that despite its pleasant and refreshing looks, it flows very quickly. “But, look at that duck,” they exclaim in reply, “It’s swimming the other direction. The current can’t be so strong!”

Gently, I explain that ducks live in the water and are capable of swimming upstream.

For us humans, that’s much harder.

Or, is it?


In this week’s parsha of Shelach we discover that ten of the twelve scouts that were sent by the Jewish people into Israel came back with a negative report. The unfortunate developments that ensued caused the entry into the Holy Land to be delayed by almost forty years. Only two scouts – Yehoshu… Read More »

The Cost of Giving

Rabbi Jonathan Saks, the renowned late Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, was quoted as saying that the Lubavitcher Rebbe did not create any followers.

“Rather,” he said, “Great leaders make great leaders. The Rebbe created an army of leaders.”

As we approach the thirtieth yahrzeit of the Rebbe in two weeks, it is appropriate to ponder the legacy of the Rebbe.

Truth be told, the Rebbe would likely be insulted by the word “legacy.” The Rebbe abandoned the perch of traditional Chassidic Rebbes. Out was the streimel and regalia. In was action and compassion.

We can only imagine what endless greatness the Rebbe would have commanded in the realm of Torah study – if that’s all he devoted himself… Read More »

The Holy Thief

Everyone called him Yossel the Ganef (Thief). He was a true professional at his craft and every home in the shtetl merited a visit at some time or another.

One day, Yossel and some cohorts decided it was time to go for bigger game.  They designed a scheme to rob the treasures of the local church in middle of the night.  Yossel was chosen to climb through a window while his buddies served as watchmen outside.

Just then a guard passed by and noticed something amiss. Terrified, Yossel’s friends disappeared into the dark night, leaving Yossel alone. The guard notified others and soon Yossel was trapped inside. He was caught red-handed.

The crime was deemed a most serious one and Yossel was swiftly sentenced to death.

The day… Read More »

Treadmill Torah

I am always amazed at how much energy my children have. They can ride their bicycles for seemingly boundless hours. Or play Magna-Tiles to no end.

Then I think of myself and the contrast simply grows. If I am doing the same thing for so long, I usually wind up feeling like I’m on a treadmill – moving, but getting nowhere.


In this week’s parsha of Bamidbar, we learn about the locale of the most amazing event in history. G-d’s revelation to mankind – en masse – occurred only once, 3336 years ago. We relive this event each year on Shavuot. This year we will read the Ten Commandments as part of our Shavuot celebration on Wednesday.

This parsha is also the beginning of a new book (volume) of the Torah. I… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.