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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

ROSH HASHANAH

The Torah emphasizes to us that the day of Rosh Hashanah is a day of remembrance and of memory. Heaven is able to recall everything and everyone; human beings, less so. Human memory is selective, arbitrary and many if not most times faulty and certainly somewhat inaccurate. People have often told me that they heard me say such and such in a public lecture and I have no recollection whatsoever...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAAZINU

There are two major songs/poems that appear in the Torah. One is the great song of deliverance, which was the reaction of Moshe and the Jewish people to their being saved from the bondage of Egypt and the waters of Yam Suf. The other is that of this week's parsha, Haazinu. This song/poem is also authored by Moshe but this was composed at the end of the forty-year sojourn of the Jewish people in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A RETURN TO THE SABBATH

During this period of reflective thought, there is one issue that, in my opinion, stands out. And that is the issue of Sabbath observance within the Jewish world. The rabbis of the Talmud placed the Sabbath at the forefront of all the commandments, and essentially as the lodestone of Jewish identity. Sabbath observance brought with it personal trust and cooperation in all social and religious...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH

The Torah reading for this week is a fitting conclusion to the year that is about to depart from us. At the end of his long life and after decades of service to the Jewish people, Moshe renews the covenant between God and the people of Israel. He makes clear to the new generation of Jews standing before him, a generation that was not part of the experience of Egypt, nor present at the moment of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TAVO

In this week’s parsha, all of Jewish history is reflected in the two relatively short scenarios that the Torah describes for us. There is the opening section of the parsha – the promise that the Jewish people will come into the Land of Israel, settle there, develop the country, build the Temple and express their gratitude to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon them. They will...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BACK TO SCHOOL

This week marks the return of millions of our children to the regular routine of school. The yeshivot and seminaries of this and other countries have also begun their classroom schedules and study patterns. I think that even though we can all agree that school today is a very necessary part of our society, nevertheless we are also all aware that school contains a downside as well. Not all...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TETZEI

In this week’s parsha, the Torah portrays for us an accurate and unforgiving view of war and its personal consequences. No one who participates in a war escapes unscathed. The ones who are killed or wounded have suffered physically, but even those who have survived the battle whole are still affected. That is the supremely important, albeit sublimina,l message of the beginning of this...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

Law and order are the hallmarks of a functioning democratic society. The concept that one can receive fair redress for damages and hurts through an equitable system of established justice is central to the concept of a free society that provides individual rights to its citizens. However, dictatorships also provide law and order for those who live under their rule - a little too much law and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BITTER LESSONS

The past has many bitter lessons for the present. Many times the lessons themselves unfortunately provide no answer to current dilemmas since they provided no clear answer to the past dilemmas either. That is what makes these types of historical lessons such bitter ones. It presents the problem in clear perspective but denies us any clear solution to it. One hundred years ago at the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein