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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYETZEI 11/19/2017 02:03 PM

Our father Yaakov now embarks on a long, tortuous journey that represents the story of his life. In recounting his story before Pharaoh, when he descended to live in Egypt, he was brutally frank in assessing his life: “My years compared to those of my ancestors have been few, and they have not been good ones.” From the onset, he swims in a sea of troubles. He is robbed by his nephew,...

TOLDOT 11/12/2017 03:35 PM

Our father Avraham was, according to the Mishna in Avot, tested ten times and overcame all of them. It is interesting that most of the commentators that describe and enumerate these ten tests do not identify Avraham as being the son of Terach as one of these tests. One can easily think that this perhaps would have been one of the major tests in his lifetime. But the Torah takes into account a...

CHAYEI SARAH 11/5/2017 02:59 PM

Avraham and Sarah have a loyal and devoted trustworthy servant named Eliezer. His abilities and nobility of character enable him to be entrusted with the most personal and sensitive of assignments and missions. His name has been used by Jewish families for thousands of years as an honorable name for their sons. In fact, our great teacher Moshe named his younger son Eliezer as a remembrance of...

VAYERA 10/30/2017 02:19 PM

There are many angels that walk amongst us in this world, unrecognized by others. Angels apparently adopt the coloration of the society into which their mission has taken them. The prophets of Israel describe in vivid detail the description of angels as they appear in heaven’s court. They have wings and many-faceted eyes. They are fiery and swift, fearsome and relentless. But when they are on...

LECH LECHA 10/23/2017 02:49 PM

There is much comment and many different interpretations regarding the first two words of the second verse of this week’s Torah reading. The second word “lecha” – “for you” seems to be somewhat redundant in the construction of the sentence. Rashi therefore interprets it to mean “for your benefit and good.” The Lord instructs Abraham to leave his homeland and family located in...

NOACH 10/16/2017 04:11 PM

The greater a person is or believes he or she is, the smaller the room for error in one’s life decisions. Had Noach been merely Mister Noach, his choice of beginning the world again with a vineyard and wine would have been acceptable and even understandable. After all, the trauma of the destruction of so many human beings in the waters of the great flood required some sort of release of tension...

V’ZOT HABRACHA – BERESITH 10/9/2017 01:50 PM

As is usual and customary, the reading of the Torah concludes and is resumed again in an almost simultaneous fashion on the day of Simchat Torah. This juxtaposition of the readings is especially noticeable this year with the immediacy of Shabbat Bereshiith to Simchat Torah itself. The Torah concludes with the lesson of the mortality and the eternity of the human being. The Torah itself...

HAAZINU 9/18/2017 02:01 PM

There are two approaches to understanding much of the prophecy contained in the grand poem of Moshe that constitutes this week’s Torah reading. Rashi in fact develops both themes thoroughly in his commentary. One view is that the Jewish people and their future are the subjects of Moshe’s Divine words. The difficulties and challenges raised in the verses of this Torah reading are those...

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH 9/11/2017 12:31 PM

Ah! The covenant once more. The basis of the relationship between the Jewish people and their Creator is the covenant that exists between them. The covenant is central to the story of the Jewish people. Our father Avraham entered into and created the terms of this eternal covenant. The covenant was embodied in his flesh itself and sanctified by the sense of sacrifice that the historical narrative...

KI TAVO 9/5/2017 02:06 PM

Moshe describes in horrid detail the ravages of the disaster that will befall the Jewish people towards the end of their long exile from their homeland. We no longer have to accept the descriptions outlined in the words of Moshe as they appear in this week’s Torah reading on faith alone. We have eyewitnesses, testimonies, films, official documented government records, and written memoirs that...