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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NITZAVIM 9/26/2016 12:06 PM

In emphasizing once again the eternal validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people, Moshe addresses his words to the entire nation. All classes of society are included in the covenant – the heads of the people, the judges, the wealthy and powerful, the poor, menial and manual laborer, those that chop the wood and draw the water. No one is excluded from the terms of the covenant and no...

KI TAVO 9/18/2016 04:27 PM

The warnings to the Jewish people as contained in this week’s Torah readings are awesome (how I despise that word as currently used in popular vernacular!) in their ferocity and cruelty. Unfortunately, they are also unerringly truthful and accurate. Everything in its minutest detail did befall us, not only over the long millennia of our existence as a people but as an accurate description of...

KI TEITZEI 9/11/2016 02:51 PM

The brutality of war, which of course is unavoidable since the immediate purpose of war is to kill as many of one's adversaries as possible, transforms the moral compass and the logical judgment of soldiers. The Torah posits a case of a Jewish soldier taking and assaulting a non-Jewish woman captive. It then forces that soldier into a marriage with the woman that will undoubtedly have...

SHOFTIM 9/6/2016 02:52 PM

We are all in favor of equality and justice. The goal of all democratic societies is to have, as far as humanly possible, an incorruptible and fair judicial system. Since, however, judges are only human – no matter how knowledgeable and altruistic they may be, the perfect judicial system has never yet been achieved. Nevertheless, in order to make society livable, we are bidden to obey the...

RE’EH 8/29/2016 01:24 PM

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence that certain truths are self-evident. His inspiration for this idea came from our great teacher Moshe who points out clearly in this week's reading that one's choices in life are clearly evident. King Solomon in Kohelet points out that the Lord created human beings and imbued them with simple righteousness, but that they...

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...