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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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The story of the Jewish people’s suffering under Egyptian bondage reaches its climax in this week's Torah reading and in the beginning part of next week's Torah reading as well. The Torah does not really dwell on the history and political significance of this momentous event. It tells us of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, of the stubbornness of Pharaoh and of the eventual capitulation...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MY BOOKS

I have always been a lover of books. Even when I was a young student in the yeshiva many decades ago I would read books on all sorts of different subjects. Back then, I then used the meager financial resources at my disposal to purchase books. Prices were different then and for three dollars I was able to obtain classic books by great Talmudic scholars. When I was a rabbi in Miami Beach, I...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEES

One of the tragic consequences of war is that thousands and perhaps even millions of civilians are displaced, uprooted from their homes and lives and have involuntarily acquired the unwanted distinction of becoming refugees. Yet, in most instances regarding refugees after the wars of the twentieth century, these refugees eventually found new homes and new lives – many times better homes and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAEIRA

The extended, tension filled, confrontation between Moshe and Pharaoh forms the backdrop for the story of the plagues and the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Pharaoh, from the outset, is unwilling to consider the request of Moshe to allow the Jewish people a three day furlough to worship God in the desert. The commentators to the Torah differ as to whether or not this was a sincere...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHEMOT

The status of the Jewish people in Egypt changed rather abruptly. For well over a century after the death of Yosef and the original family of Yaakov, the Jewish people resided in Egypt under favorable if not even idyllic conditions. They multiplied in terms of population, wealth and influence. Their success, to a certain extent, also became their undoing for the Torah tells us that they...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

We currently find ourselves at the beginning of the month of January, which is the first month of the secular year. January derives its name from the pagan god Janus, who was given two faces, one looking in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. It became the symbol of the past and the future, the old year and the new one, of looking back and looking ahead at the same time. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

UPS AND DOWNS

Though every election in Israel is full of surprises, because we are a restless and constantly dissatisfied people there is a pattern that has emerged from all of the previous nineteen elections that have bedeviled us over the past sixty-six years. The pattern includes constant fragmentation of existing parties as personal ambition and rigid ideology overtake practical and achievable goals. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYECHI

The last seventeen years of the lifetime of our father Yaakov are, so to speak, the best years of his long and eventful life. When appearing before the Pharaoh of Egypt, Yaakov freely admits that the first one hundred thirty years of his life were sparse and difficult. He experienced a lifetime of troubles and travails from the moment he was born holding on to the heel of his brother Eisav. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EUROPE IS GONE

What can one say about Europe? I imagine that if one wants to be bitterly truthful then one could easily say that Hitler has in effect triumphed. He branded the Jews as the root of all troubles and proclaimed that the “final” and only solution to the “Jewish problem” was to eradicate all Jews from the face of the earth. And as we all know, he followed through on his genocidal program. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH

As the Torah’s narrative of the story of Yosef and his brothers reaches its dramatic climax in this week’s parsha, one may feel justifiably surprised that the brothers were so shocked at Yosef’s revelation to them. After all, there was no shortage of revelatory hints strewn by Yosef throughout the unfolding story. But the brothers, convinced of the rectitude of their actions and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein