Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

FECKLESSNESS AND UNWISDOM

In Winston Churchill's epic six-volume memoir of the Second World War, in the first volume entitled “The Gathering Storm,” he wrote of the British foreign policy of the 1930s as follows: “[The later disaster was caused by] the English-speaking peoples, [who] through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature, allowed the wicked to rearm." A good nature is a necessity for personal...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM

People who attain blessed advanced age and many years tend to look back in time and concentrate less on the future. Old rabbis write autobiographies. Past events, which were previously sublimated and hardly ever recalled, suddenly become vivid memories worthy of meaningful contemplation. An example of this is to be found in the words of our father Jacob to his children in his final days when...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

MAASEI

There is a trend amongst all biblical commentators in the Jewish world to view the biblical description of past events that occurred to our ancestors from the time of Abraham through the beginning of Second Temple times as being not only a description of past events but to also subtly indicate the course of all events that would befall the Jewish people. This type of idea perhaps helps us to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH

In my many decades as a public speaker I have encountered many reactions to my words. Though most people love me and are enthralled by what I have to say, many times people have somehow vehemently disagreed and have informed me of their negative opinions. Sometimes people have even walked out while I was still speaking to express their displeasure. Once or twice I remember being heckled by...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT

The subject matter that begins this week's parsha concerns itself with vows and commitments that one undertakes to perform or to abstain from. There is an entire tractate in the Talmud – Nedarim – that discusses this subject almost exclusively. In Jewish life, even an oral commitment in many cases can be considered to be binding. The Torah expressly teaches us that one should live up to and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WHO WILL GO FOR US?

In the great vision that the prophet Isaiah witnessed in Heaven at the onset of his immortal prophetic career, he heard a voice that asked: “Who shall I send and who will go for us?" That verse in Isaiah has always been a marker for me as to how to judge Jewish leaders and other people of note. There are moments in life and in history when that question reverberates throughout the Jewish...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

In the midst of the sadness and angst that envelops us yet here in Israel and throughout the entire Jewish world, the story of Pinchas, the righteous zealot, rewarded by Heaven for his act of zealotry and violence, intrudes. We are still reeling from the killings and rockets and losses that we have so recently suffered. So, what are we to make of this most puzzling incident recorded for us in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

This week’s parsha offers us the opportunity to meet the unofficial founders of the Human Rights Organizations of our time. Here we see the ancestors of Kathleen Ashton, who is the head foreign affairs person of the European Union, the leaders of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the left-leaning anti-Semitic professors of academia the world over, the neo-communist Putin and the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MODERNITY AND TRADITION

The major challenge to all religions and certainly to Judaism over the past two centuries has been the religious reaction to the problems raised by modernity. Modernity encompasses but is not limited to technological progress, a global economy, ideas of personal and national freedom and a search for a more equitable distribution of wealth and well being amongst all human beings. This...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein