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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

ACHREI MOS 4/27/2016 12:30 PM

The Torah has already described the tragedy of the family of Aaron, when his sons Nadav and Avihu died while performing incense burning on the day of the final dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. So, why does the Torah return to the subject and mention it again in this week’s Torah reading? The commentators over the ages, from the time of the Talmud onwards, have derived many explanations,...

METZORA 4/11/2016 02:08 PM

This week's parsha is truly one of the most difficult subjects for people in our time to contemplate, understand or from which to gain knowledge and inspiration. The entire subject of these mysterious diseases, which manifested themselves on the human body, in clothing and even in houses and buildings is technically discussed in Mishna and also in various places in the Talmud itself. However, the...

SHABBAT HAGADOL 4/10/2016 04:15 PM

The Shabbat preceding Pesach is titled “The Great Shabbat.” Over the ages there have been many reasons advanced as to why this Shabbat, over all others, deserves this title. I know that it is somehow presumptuous on my part to add my view on the matter when so many greater people than me have had their say. However, the Torah is so vast and all-encompassing and speaks to all times and...

TAZRIA 4/4/2016 02:58 PM

The ritual of circumcision has been one of the basic institutions of Jewish life since the beginnings of our familial and national existence. It is this covenant of our father Avraham which has always been a testament to the eternity of the Jewish people, to its heritage and identity. As in the case of Avraham circumcising his son Yitzchak on the eighth day after the infant’s birth, the...

SHMINI 3/28/2016 01:25 PM

The temptations of power are great. When one achieves notoriety, success and exalted public service there is always a danger that hubris and unnecessary behavior will take over. This is true even regarding great, noble and holy people. The adage that power corrupts has remained one of the truisms of all of human behavior throughout the ages. When the Torah describes the death of the two sons...

TZAV 3/22/2016 04:28 PM

The parsha deals initially with the concept of an eternal flame or light that would continually be present on the holy altar in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. This is not the sole instance in the Torah where this concept of an eternal flame, fire or light is discussed. The great golden candelabra in the Mishkan/Tabernacle was also to have one light that was to be deemed an eternal light that was never...

VAYIKRA 3/15/2016 02:27 PM

The Torah in this week’s parsha identifies human beings with the word nefesh. There is no exact translation of this word in English that captures the nuances associated with the word in its Hebrew form. The word certainly implies a much more spiritual, soulful, ethereal human being than the flesh and blood physical being that we usually associate with people. The Torah seems to imply that...

PEKUDEI 3/6/2016 01:45 PM

The end of the book of Shemot describes the culmination of the events of the exodus from Egypt, the revelation at Sinai and the construction of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. All of these events are certainly on the positive side of the historical ledger. On the other side of that historical ledger sheet that the book of Shemot represents there is the sin of the Golden Calf and the constant carping and...

VAYAKHEL 2/28/2016 12:39 PM

This week’s parsha deals at its onset with the holiness of Shabbat. The Torah also emphasizes that this subject and concept was dealt with b’hakhel – publicly and nationally. We may derive an instructive lesson from this – a lesson that has much current relevance in our present society. There are two aspects of Shabbat – one public and one private. The private Shabbat has a more...

KI TISA 2/21/2016 01:30 PM

This week’s parsha illustrates the problem that the Jewish people have with unlimited prosperity. With their pockets bursting with the wealth of Egypt and eating free food day in and day out, and with their wealth burning a hole in their pockets, they looked for expression to their newfound prosperity. And so the story of the Golden Calf follows. There are many explanations offered by the...