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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

TAZRIA-METZORAH

We once again read about types of plagues and dermatological illnesses that create a climate of impunity and negativity. We are no longer privy to the identity and physical appearance of these plagues that are recorded for us in this week's Torah reading. These plagues are or were unknown to us and they are certainly not the modern form of leprosy, which was the usual understanding of them for...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHMINI

Due to the fact that the seventh day of Pesach this year falls on a Friday, the Torah reading of Shmini will occur on different dates in the Jewish world. Here in Israel it will be read immediately after the conclusion of the holiday of Pesach, which is only seven days in length. In the exile/diaspora the Shabbat immediately after the seventh day of Pesach is reckoned and observed as the eighth...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SFIRA

Sfira marks the longest-running commandment of the Torah. It occupies forty nine days on the yearly Jewish calendar. It has been encrusted with customs in commemoration of events in Jewish history, some happy and some not so happy. Although most of Sfira is low-key if not even somber, there are minor festival days that are also included during this period of time. Sfira reflects much of what our...

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Rabbi Berel Wein

PESACH

Someone remarked to me recently that he did not see or feel how anything new could be discussed at his Seder table – everything that could have been said and analyzed had been said over all of the past decades of his commemorating Pesach. I told him that I thought he had too narrow a view concerning the commemoration of Pesach. The broad human and particularly Jewish issues of bondage,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

TZAV

The entire book of Vayikra is described in rabbinic literature as Torat Kohanim – the laws, instructions, rituals and duties of Aharon and his sons, the founders of the priestly family of Israel. In this week’s Torah reading, Moshe is instructed to command Aharon regarding the daily sacrifices to be offered in the Mishkan/Tabernacle and the keeping of eternal fire that always was to be...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABAT HAGADOL

The Shabbat that immediately precedes the holiday of Passover carries with it the title of being Shabbat Hagadol – the great and exalted Shabbat. There are many explanations advanced as to why this Shabbat should merit that special title. The one most often advanced is that the tenth day of Nissan – the day when the actual redemption from Egypt began by the Jews taking the paschal lamb into...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DISCONNECTION

One of the problems that faces religious leadership in the Jewish world, especially the leadership of the great scholars and heads of the leading educational institutions here in Israel, is that there is a chasm of disconnect between them and the masses that they wish to lead and influence. I remember that once when I was a rabbi in Miami Beach many decades ago, a noted Israeli Talmudic...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIKRA

The word vayikra that begins this week's Torah reading, and is the name of the third book of the Chumash, is distinguished by having a miniature alef at the end of the word. I have written about this exceptional script/font in previous years. I concentrated then mainly on the traditional explanation that this small letter was inserted in the Torah to highlight the abject humility of our teacher...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ויקרא

המילה "ויקרא" שפותחת את פרשת השבוע, והיא גם שמו של החומש השלישי, מיוחדת באלף הקטנה שמופיעה בסוף המילה. כתבתי על הפונט המיוחד הזה בשנים קודמות. אז התמקדתי בעיקר בפירוש המסורתי שאומר שהאות הזעירה הזאת נכנסה לתורה כדי...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

ניתוק

אחת הבעיות שניצבות בפני ההנהגה הדתית של העולם היהודי, במיוחד ההנהגה של הרבנים הגדולים וראשי מוסדות החינוך הדתיים המובילים בישראל, היא העובדה שיש תהום פעורה של נתק בינם לבין ההמונים שהם מבקשים להנהיג ועליהם הם מבקשים...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert