Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

B’SHALACH - SHIRA 1/26/2015 01:43 PM

There are many different types of songs familiar to human society. There are songs of triumph and of resignation and acceptance. There are songs of joy and love and anthems of hatred and violence. There are songs of nostalgia and remembrance and songs of hope in future greatness. There are also hymns of faith and melodies of rebellion and change. In short, in human history, one can almost...

BO 1/19/2015 12:59 PM

The story of the Jewish people’s suffering under Egyptian bondage reaches its climax in this week's Torah reading and in the beginning part of next week's Torah reading as well. The Torah does not really dwell on the history and political significance of this momentous event. It tells us of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, of the stubbornness of Pharaoh and of the eventual capitulation...

VAEIRA 1/12/2015 12:03 PM

The extended, tension filled, confrontation between Moshe and Pharaoh forms the backdrop for the story of the plagues and the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Pharaoh, from the outset, is unwilling to consider the request of Moshe to allow the Jewish people a three day furlough to worship God in the desert. The commentators to the Torah differ as to whether or not this was a sincere...

SHEMOT 1/5/2015 03:33 PM

The status of the Jewish people in Egypt changed rather abruptly. For well over a century after the death of Yosef and the original family of Yaakov, the Jewish people resided in Egypt under favorable if not even idyllic conditions. They multiplied in terms of population, wealth and influence. Their success, to a certain extent, also became their undoing for the Torah tells us that they...

VAYECHI 12/29/2014 11:05 AM

The last seventeen years of the lifetime of our father Yaakov are, so to speak, the best years of his long and eventful life. When appearing before the Pharaoh of Egypt, Yaakov freely admits that the first one hundred thirty years of his life were sparse and difficult. He experienced a lifetime of troubles and travails from the moment he was born holding on to the heel of his brother Eisav. ...

VAYIGASH 12/21/2014 12:27 PM

As the Torah’s narrative of the story of Yosef and his brothers reaches its dramatic climax in this week’s parsha, one may feel justifiably surprised that the brothers were so shocked at Yosef’s revelation to them. After all, there was no shortage of revelatory hints strewn by Yosef throughout the unfolding story. But the brothers, convinced of the rectitude of their actions and...

MIKETZ 12/15/2014 02:20 PM

The astounding and amazing story of Yosef continues in this week's parsha. Through a series of inexplicable events, Yosef finds himself raised from being a kidnapped victim and slave who was thrust into prison and doomed to oblivion, to becoming the chief minister of the Pharaoh and the Egyptian Empire. Yosef takes all of this in stride and certainly sees it as being part of a series of events...

VAYESHEV 12/8/2014 02:01 PM

Yaakov and Yosef, the two main protagonists of the narrative in this final section of the book of Bereshith, are both blindsided by the events that befall them. After years of exile and turmoil, incessant danger and inherent loneliness, Yaakov attempts to settle down to an apparent tranquil retirement. He is not looking for new worlds to conquer, nor is he intending to be active or...

וישב 12/7/2014 12:12 PM

יעקב ויוסף, שני הגיבורים העיקריים של הסיפור בחלק האחרון של ספר בראשית, מופתעים מהאירועים שקורים להם בחייהם. אחרי שנים של גלות ותהפוכות, של סכנה בלתי פוסקת ובדידות, יעקב מנסה למצוא סוף סוף מנוחה ושלווה. הוא לא מנסה...

VAYISHLACH 12/1/2014 11:31 AM

One of the basic questions raised by the commentators to the Torah as well as by all of Jewish history is determining the true relationship of Jacob and Esau. Is Esau the implacable enemy of Jacob and so has he remained throughout human history? Or, is he only the wayward brother of Jacob who is capable of reconciliation and cooperation in building a better and more just society? This...