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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NOACH 10/20/2014 01:11 PM

The main character described in this week's Torah reading is naturally Noach himself. I think that the Torah wishes to illustrate, through Noach’s personality and his reactions to the impending disaster and to the world afterwards - the challenges of being a survivor. Everyone who has ever survived a serious challenge or tragedy replays in one's mind what might have been done differently,...

BERESHITH 10/13/2014 06:27 PM

In the whirlwind cascade of events that fill this opening parsha of the Torah, one can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of subjects discussed. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, after they exercised their free will to disobey God's commandment, is an important issue to dwell upon and discuss. What life was like within...

VZOT HABRACHA 10/6/2014 04:35 PM

Very shortly we will conclude the reading of the Torah cycle for this year. The Torah ends with the description of the passing of Moshe. The Torah pointedly tells us that there never will be another Moshe. We are also taught that there will never be another generation such as the generation of Jews that were redeemed from Egypt and who accepted the Torah on Mount Sinai. And, we are also taught...

HAAZINU 9/22/2014 01:06 PM

There are two major songs/poems that appear in the Torah. One is the great song of deliverance, which was the reaction of Moshe and the Jewish people to their being saved from the bondage of Egypt and the waters of Yam Suf. The other is that of this week's parsha, Haazinu. This song/poem is also authored by Moshe but this was composed at the end of the forty-year sojourn of the Jewish people in...

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH 9/15/2014 12:22 PM

The Torah reading for this week is a fitting conclusion to the year that is about to depart from us. At the end of his long life and after decades of service to the Jewish people, Moshe renews the covenant between God and the people of Israel. He makes clear to the new generation of Jews standing before him, a generation that was not part of the experience of Egypt, nor present at the moment of...

KI TETZEI 9/2/2014 01:45 PM

In this week’s parsha, the Torah portrays for us an accurate and unforgiving view of war and its personal consequences. No one who participates in a war escapes unscathed. The ones who are killed or wounded have suffered physically, but even those who have survived the battle whole are still affected. That is the supremely important, albeit sublimina,l message of the beginning of this...

SHOFTIM 8/25/2014 01:44 PM

Law and order are the hallmarks of a functioning democratic society. The concept that one can receive fair redress for damages and hurts through an equitable system of established justice is central to the concept of a free society that provides individual rights to its citizens. However, dictatorships also provide law and order for those who live under their rule - a little too much law and...

RE’EIH 8/17/2014 03:15 PM

The use of the verb re’eih by the Torah to begin this week's Torah reading indicates that the seemingly complicated and abstract choices in life regarding faith and doubt, good and evil, right and wrong and life and death are really simple ones. The word re’eih denotes something that can be seen with the naked eye and needs no great thought or judgment to identify it. The Torah implies...

EIKEV 8/10/2014 03:11 PM

Rashi, in commenting on the first word of this week's parsha, employs an interpretation of the word eikev, whichinthecontext of the verse itself means “since” or “because.” It usually denotes a cause and effect relationship – because you will observe God's commandments, then blessings and physical rewards will descend upon you. Rashi, however, based on midrash, expands the meaning of...

VAETCHANAN 8/3/2014 03:07 PM

In this week's parsha the Torah records for us the revelation at Sinai and a restatement of the Ten Commandments. The text of the Ten Commandments as recorded in this week's parsha differs somewhat from the text of the Ten Commandments as they appear in parshat Yitro. These differences are commented upon and explained to us in the Talmud, Midrash and in the later commentaries to the Torah. ...