Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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

CHUKAT

Over all of the millennia since the incident described in this week’s parsha regarding Moshe striking the rock instead of speaking to it, the great commentators to Torah have struggled to make this incident more understandable and meaningful to us ordinary mortals. At first glance, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. Because of this, many of the commentators have seen the incident of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WEIGHING VALUES

Almost all of us agree that values, especially those that represent the ideas of democracy and freedom and also our own national self-interest and personal preservation, are vital and necessary for ourselves and the public good. When viewed in isolation, it is easy to be an ardent supporter of any one individual value that fits this criterion of benefit and probity. The problem always arises...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FACT AND OPINION

One of my daughters told me a wonderful story last week – a story that I have already used in one of my public lectures here in Jerusalem. The story goes as follows: A third-grade child that attends a Jewish day school in the United States has two teachers – one for religious Hebrew studies and one for the general studies program. The general studies teacher was trying to explain to her...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KORACH

In last week’s parsha Rashi commented that when the Jewish people stated that they wanted to return to Egypt rather than proceeding to the Land of Israel they thereby intimated that they wanted to replace Moshe as their leader and crown a new king over them. In this week’s parsha, that earlier murmur of dissatisfaction with Moshe and his leadership becomes a full-throated shout. Korach...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHLACH

Moshe, at the behest and request of the Jewish people, chooses twelve outstanding leaders and orders them to embark on a mission of spying regarding the Land of Israel and its current Canaanite population. Moshe is confident that this mission will reinforce the enthusiasm and commitment of the Jewish people to settle and build their national homeland, promised to them by God through their...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

FIFA AND RABBI RISKIN

There is much irony present in the news of the day and there also are connections between stories about apparently disparate subjects that can be easily overlooked. As unlikely as it seems, I discern a distinct connection between the debacle and justified humbling of FIFA – the self-proclaimed holy guardian of world football/soccer and of international sports generally – and the ill-timed,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

B’HALOTCHA

Without warning disaster strikes the people of Israel on their journey to the Land of Israel. Moshe boldly proclaimed that “we are traveling now on the way to the land of our destination.” The tribes have been numbered and counted, assigned flags and positions of march and they are accompanied on their journey by the Tabernacle of God placed in their midst. Everything is seemingly poised for...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

‘FIFE’ ON FIFA

Last week there were many dramas that took place regarding the international soccer association known as FIFA. Many of its top officials were arrested and more were indicted in the United States for brazenly corrupt practices. They were charged with accepting millions of dollars in bribes in assigning venues for the World Cup and other major soccer sporting events. The head of the...

Posted in:
by
Rabbi Berel Wein