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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

EKEV 8/22/2016 03:09 PM

The Torah reading of this week continues the long, final oration of Moshe to the Jewish people, as he prepares for his own mortal demise. It is important to note that throughout the words of Moshe here in the final book of the Chumash, there is, mixed together, the requirement of the memory of the past – the distant and immediate past – with the vision of the future, again the far future and...

VAETCHANAN 8/15/2016 04:00 PM

The Torah reading of this week contains within it portions that we read in the synagogue on the morning of Tisha B’Av. With unerring accuracy the story of the Jewish people is predicted in full detail. The consequences of national sin and of an immoral society are outlined – the destruction of the Temples, the loss of national sovereignty, exile, persecution and a history of horror and...

DVARIM 8/8/2016 03:46 PM

No matter how accurately facts are presented, the picture that they impart is incomplete if the element of perspective and background is not also present. The Torah reading of last week concluded the narrative of the creation of the Jewish people and of their special role in human history and civilization. This week we begin to study the final book of the Torah of Moshe. This is the book of...

MAASEI 8/2/2016 01:08 PM

The Torah reading of this week marks not only the conclusion of the book of Bamidbar but also of the narrative portion which tells of the formation of the Jewish people. It has truly been a long journey from the Garden of Eden, from original man to the banks of the Jordan River. It tells of the development of a special people whose influence and contribution to the world will be in far greater...

MATOT 7/24/2016 01:16 PM

Throughout the entire Torah it seems clear that the Jewish people were to maintain the system of separate tribes with separate leaders. At first glance, it seems that this system of separate tribes would always guarantee a strong element of disunity within the Jewish people. Would it not have been better to discard the original tribal system of the house of Jacob and build instead a more unified...

PINCHAS 7/18/2016 01:57 PM

The count of the Jewish people that appears in this week's Torah reading occurs after a long string of unpleasant incidents and tragedies in this final period of their sojourn in the Sinai desert. The simple understanding of this sequence of events and subsequent count of the people is that after so many had died in the desert; Moshe had to have an accurate number of the Jewish people before...

BALAK 7/12/2016 02:36 PM

There are people in the world who are simply too meddlesome for their own good. As King Solomon points out in Proverbs, they provoke passing dogs and engage in quarrels and controversies that really do not affect them directly. That is the main transgression of Balak as described in this week's Torah reading. The Jewish people are not threatening him or his nation. They just happened to be around...

CHUKAT 7/3/2016 11:35 AM

The entire book of Bamidbar is a litany of bad behavior, poor choices and a lack of faith that dooms that generation – a great generation that left Egypt triumphantly and miraculously – to death in the desert of Sinai. But perhaps the most tragic event on a human and personal level is contained in this week's Torah reading when the fate of Moshe is sealed. He will not be allowed to enter...

KORACH 6/26/2016 04:12 PM

Apparently there were influential sections of the Jewish people that found it difficult to have a proper relationship with their leader Moshe. The minimalist Jews – the eiruv rav - couldnot get enough of Moshe. They constantly needed him and his presence and when they felt that he was absent, and perhaps would not return, they substituted a golden calf in his stead. This week we read of...

SHLACH 6/19/2016 04:15 PM

To a great extent the Jewish people have always had an easier time dealing with the study and observance of Torah than with the primacy of the Land of Israel in Jewish life and thought. For various reasons, throughout our history we have always had difficulty dealing with the reality of being an independent, self-governing national entity living within the borders of the country that the Lord...