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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

EMOR

There are numerous thoughts in rabbinic literature expressed as to the intent of the Torah in banning kohanim – the priestly male descendants of Aharon – from coming into contact with the deceased. Ramban exposits that it is the “ordinary” Jew, so to speak, the non-kohein, who is immersed in the daily material existence of competitive life that requires constant reminders of one’s own...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GROWING UP

All children grow up and hopefully mature into independent, self-sufficient and productive adults. The Torah itself advocates this process when it states that “therefore every man shall leave his father and mother” in order to marry and build one's own home and family. Growing up is often a painful process for both parents and children. I have often advocated the idea that everyone should...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ZEITGEIST

There is no way that anyone can completely shut the door of one’s religious Jewish home to exclude the influences of prevailing culture from entering our living quarters and influencing our families. The zeitgeist – the prevailing culture of the time and place -has always been a powerful and sometime detrimental force in Jewish history. It was the existing zeitgeist of rampant and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

IDEOLOGY AND REALITY

The Torah describes itself as a Torat chayim - a Torah of life and living. There are many possible interpretations of this phrase. It can refer to the fact that the Torah is eternal, vibrant and ever renewing, the source and fountain of life – that it is a living Torah. However to my mind, this phrase implies that it is also, if not even primarily so, the Torah of practicality and reality. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ACHREI-KEDOSHIM

Although the entire gamut of Torah commandments is discussed in this week's Torah reading, it is obvious that the major emphasis is on the subject of sexual morality. It is almost impossible to discuss this subject in the current climate of politically correct Western liberalism. Even a discussion of this situation brings upon one the approbation of being bigoted and intolerant. Yet in the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

TAZRIA-METZORAH

We once again read about types of plagues and dermatological illnesses that create a climate of impunity and negativity. We are no longer privy to the identity and physical appearance of these plagues that are recorded for us in this week's Torah reading. These plagues are or were unknown to us and they are certainly not the modern form of leprosy, which was the usual understanding of them for...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHMINI

Due to the fact that the seventh day of Pesach this year falls on a Friday, the Torah reading of Shmini will occur on different dates in the Jewish world. Here in Israel it will be read immediately after the conclusion of the holiday of Pesach, which is only seven days in length. In the exile/diaspora the Shabbat immediately after the seventh day of Pesach is reckoned and observed as the eighth...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SFIRA

Sfira marks the longest-running commandment of the Torah. It occupies forty nine days on the yearly Jewish calendar. It has been encrusted with customs in commemoration of events in Jewish history, some happy and some not so happy. Although most of Sfira is low-key if not even somber, there are minor festival days that are also included during this period of time. Sfira reflects much of what our...

Posted in:
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

פסח

מישהו אמר באוזניי לאחרונה שהוא לא מבין או רואה איך אפשר לדבר על משהו חדש בשולחן הסדר בפסח – כל מה שאפשר היה להגיד ולפרש כבר נאמר בכל עשרות השנים שהוא חוגג את חג הפסח. אמרתי לו שאני חושב שההשקפה שלו בנוגע לסדר פסח החג קצת...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PESACH

Someone remarked to me recently that he did not see or feel how anything new could be discussed at his Seder table – everything that could have been said and analyzed had been said over all of the past decades of his commemorating Pesach. I told him that I thought he had too narrow a view concerning the commemoration of Pesach. The broad human and particularly Jewish issues of bondage,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert