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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

KI TAVO

The next few parshiyot of the Torah, leading up to the final uplifting and glorious conclusion, portray for us a somber picture of the experiences that the Jewish people will undergo in their march through history. The descriptions of the horrors that will overtake the Jewish people, when their national entity is destroyed and they embark on a long and painful exile of millennia, are graphic,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE SUNSHINE PATRIOTS

The Jewish communities and individual Jews living in the Diaspora, in the United States and the Western world particularly are currently faced with having to make a difficult and almost fateful decision regarding the signing of an admittedly bad deal with Iran. As t his would pave the way for that nation to become a nuclear power in the very foreseeable future, does continued Jewish opposition...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TEITZEI

The saga of the captive woman described in this week's Torah reading has always remained a somewhat puzzling subject. The Talmud itself reacts to the realities of war – those young male soldiers and vulnerable female captives – by stating that the Torah is reacting to the natural base desires of men in times of stress and danger. So to speak, the entire matter is a concession to evil...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GRATITUDE

The month of Elul brings forth many different emotions, thoughts and insights. It is, after all, meant to be a month of introspection and serious self-analysis. And, one of the values that this month is meant to evoke in our minds and thoughts is that of gratitude. The rabbis of the Talmud saw gratitude as being one of the most basic values of Judaism. Since nothing in life is perfect and we...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

Unlike other faiths, Judaism does not foresee this world to be one of perfection of the entire human condition. Thus in this week’s Torah reading we are told to create a system of legal justice and means of enforcement of law and order. Society cannot simply rely on the good will and innate good nature of people; this leads to anarchy and chaos. To this end, judges and police are part of the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEWISH SOLIDARITY

One of the hallmarks of the story of the Jewish people over the millennia of our existence has been the fact that Jews, no matter what their political persuasion or level of religious belief and observance, always seem to care for one another. Though there always were divergent interests and different agendas present in the Jewish world, nevertheless when Jews were in mortal danger the Jewish...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

It is interesting, at least to me, to note that in the review of the Jewish holidays of the calendar year that appears in this week's Torah reading, only the three festivals of Pesach, Succot and Shavuot are mentioned. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are noticeable in their absence from this list of holidays. The obvious reason for their omission is that the commandment to go up to Jerusalem for the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE

There is one thing that we can all agree upon and it is is that the existence and policies of the State of Israel, no matter which party is in power, makes Jews the world over feel uncomfortable. There always is some untoward incident, bad behavior, foolish governmental policy or controversial and aggressive stance that makes many Jews squirm in their seats. Because of this discomfort, there...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EIKEV

The word with which this week's Torah reading begins literally means ‘because of’ or ‘as a consequence of’ one's actions and behavior. However Rashi chooses to define the word ‘eikev’ in a more allegorical sense. Rashi traces the word to its root where it means the heel of a person. We find that this is its meaning when the Torah describes our father Jacob holding onto the heel of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOTHING ORIGINAL

I imagine that most blogs and commentary articles in the Jewish world this week will concentrate on the tragic and difficult events that occurred in Israel with the firebomb murder of a Palestinian infant and the slashing attack by a religious fanatic upon participants at a parade in Jerusalem. It certainly makes sense that these events should be written about and commented upon for they...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein