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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAETCHANAN – NACHAMU

In the Torah reading of this week our teacher and leader Moshe prays and begs for a final time, that Heaven revoke its decree preventing him from entering the Land of Israel. His plea is unsuccessful and, in fact, he is told not to raise the subject again during his lifetime. It is striking to note that Moshe does not complain about the outcome of his entreaty nor is there any note of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

POST-TISHA B’AV THOUGHTS

I spent the better part of the afternoon of Tisha B’Av reading a book recently published concerning the history of Chicago's Orthodox rabbinate from the late 1800s to the middle of the twentieth century. The book has special meaning to me since I knew many of the rabbis described in the book during my early years in Chicago a half-century ago. Also the fact that my father and grandfather...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABBAT AND TISHA B’AV

It is an established fact that Shabbat trumps almost every other commandment, custom and practice in Jewish life and law. Allowing circumcision on Shabbat is the exception and not the rule. Whether confronting the fast days or feast days, Shabbat takes precedence. It rules, by rabbinic decree, over shofar and lulav as well as over the mournful commemorations of personal and national grief, loss...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM - CHAZON

The book of Dvarim begins on a somber note. In fact the entire book, for most of its contents and statements, is a very sobering volume. Our teacher and leader Moshe reviews for us his career and the events of his leadership of Israel over the past tumultuous forty years. He spares neither himself nor the people of Israel in his assessment of the mistakes and misfortunes that occurred over that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT-MASEI

The opening theme of this week's double parsha/Torah reading, concerns itself with the laws of vows and verbal commitments. The Torah nevertheless introduces this subject by stating that these laws and values were transmitted to the heads of the tribes of Israel. Since these laws are binding upon the entire Jewish people and are clearly discussed and explained in the Talmud in the tractate of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HUMAN NATURE

In a rapidly changing world of technology, advances in medicine and ever shifting social mores, there remains one constant in life and that is the unchanging nature of human beings. No matter how clearly the failures of the past are recorded for us, we seem determined to repeat those errors. This is especially and poignantly true when considering that we have now entered the time of contemplation...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

PINCHAS

There are great challenges in everyone's life. There are natural drives which exist within us that force people to commit sinful behavior. The Talmud succinctly sums up the situation by stating: “Most people steal, a minority of them are sexually immoral and all are covered with the dust of evil speech and slander.” Money is a great temptation and the drive to acquire it is so strong that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GOING SHOPPING

Those who know me will testify that I am not a person who enjoys shopping. There are people who simply love to go shopping. In fact there is an entire human activity, bordering on an industry, called ”going shopping.” And there are many practitioners of this activity and I am not merely speaking of window shopping, which is an entirely different genre by itself, but I am talking about real...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

This week's parsha introduces us to the usual suspects who are always present and active in Jewish history and world affairs. Balak and Bilaam are prototypes of the enemies of the Jewish people throughout the ages. They really have no legitimate cause to be our enemies. They impute hostile and aggressive behavior to the Jewish people, when in reality none of this is present. They are...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOSING TEAMS

I have always felt that part of the attraction of sports, especially professional sports, leagues and teams, is that it somehow represents a metaphor for general life. One of the great ongoing mysteries of sports is the loyalty that losing teams continue to exercise over their fan base year after year and even decade after decade. The Chicago Cubs have not won a championship in major league...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein