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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYEITZEI

Yaakov is forced to flee from home and family because of the threat that his brother Eisav poses. He is informed by his mother that his brother, in a moment of jealousy, frustration and anger, threatened to kill him. Yaakov is no physical weakling; he is not the pale yeshiva student, the caricature of nineteenth century Haskalah literature. In fact, we see in this week's Torah reading the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DIFFICULT DECISIONS

Part of the tradition of rabbinic jurisprudence is that courts of law should attempt at almost all costs to arrive at a compromise/arbitration decision rather than attempt to enforce the letter of the law. This is undoubtedly because of the fact that true justice is often beyond the abilities and capabilities of ordinary humans. In all major decisions in life there are always, so to speak,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

As we all have been taught in our study of elementary economics, prices and values are established by the law of supply and demand. In theory, the greater the supply, the lower the price. We are witness to this fact of commerce in the current, still relatively inexpensive price of oil, due to the glut of all oil available on the world market. This rule of commerce – supply and demand –...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOLDOT

The lives of our ancestors Yitzchak and Rivkah, the educational direction that they gave to their sons and their differing views of their household, are the subjects of biblical commentary throughout the ages. In our time a more intense psychological examination has dominated modern commentary, even traditional rabbinic commentary. The reason for this is the perplexing dichotomy of life and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOOKING AT GENERATIONS

On my recent visit to America I availed myself of the opportunity to visit with many of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. The great grandchildren are still mainly too young to recognize me and appreciate my connection to them. As one of them so succinctly put it when he was informed that I was his zaydie: “But I already have two zaidies!” So the experience and its meaning currently is...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH

Our matriarchs of Israel were very strong personalities and were formidable women. The life experiences of our mother Sarah are an excellent example of this assessment of character and behavior. From the Torah narrative we are informed early on that she is infertile, unable to conceive and give birth naturally. Nevertheless, we do not hear despair from her. She is willing to bring another woman...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYEIRA

Wars, family dysfunction, and the danger of future extinction are the challenges that confront our father Avraham and our mother Sarah in the narrative that dominates this week’s Torah reading. In this era, correcting the past and editing personal biographies to make people’s lives appear perfect, serene and smooth, is especially true. This methodology attempts to make the subject character...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

UNPOPULAR LEADERS

There have been many instances in human history when people were not universally popular with their subjects and citizens. No ruler has ever had unanimous popularity and approval – witness Moshe and Korach, for example – but like everything else in life, popularity is never absolute but only relative. In elections a candidate that achieves a fifty-five percent majority is deemed to have...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THAT IS WHAT IT IS

There is a great mantra that is repeated very often in Israeli society that basically states “That is what it is.” Basically it is a stoic observation of the never-ending problems, challenges, disappointments and frustrations of life. Many if not even most of these issues are far beyond one’s ability to change or influence. That fact many times serves to make those problems and frustrations...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA

Our father Avraham is an inveterate wanderer. For a great deal of his life he is a traveller, always an immigrant in a new and alien society. Though he is recognized and respected as being a prince of God and a special person, an asset to any society in which he chooses to dwell, he still remains the eternal “outsider.” He constantly hears, reverberating in his mind, God’s original...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein