Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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...

BEHALOTCHA 6/15/2016 03:13 PM

Somehow, things start to go very wrong for Moshe and the Jewish people regarding their sojourn in the desert of Sinai, on their way to the Promised Land of Israel. The defection of Yitro, though for honorable and seemingly noble reasons, weakens the resolution of the rest of Israel to somehow enter and conquer their God-given homeland. The rabbis warned us that wise people and leaders should...

NASSO 6/5/2016 03:27 PM

The role of the Levites in Jewish life was a very important one, even though it was not always completely delineated and defined. The essential task of the Levites was to serve as the caretakers in charge of the maintenance of the holy Temple. The Talmud called them "the gatekeepers.” They were, so to speak, the maintenance staff of the Temple, assisting the priests in their tasks, though not...

BAMIDBAR 5/29/2016 01:54 PM

In this week’s reading of the Torah, almost the entire text is devoted to a count of the Jewish people as they encamped in the desert of Sinai. Later in this same book of the Torah, a further count will be taken and recorded. This idea of taking a census of the population of the nation is easily understood and accepted in our society as well. Currently almost all countries and societies...

BEHAR 5/15/2016 02:42 PM

This week's Torah reading seems to emphasize that the granting of the Torah to Moshe, and through him to Israel generally, took place at the Mountain of Sinai. Since the Torah does not deal with incidental geographic details, this emphasis regarding the mountain bears study and analysis. Mountain climbing is a sport for the hardy of spirit and the physically fit. However most of us are perfectly...

EMOR 5/8/2016 12:10 PM

The Torah commandment regarding the counting of the seven weeks between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot appears in a timely fashion in this week's Torah reading. Over the many millennia of Torah study and commentary numerus ideas have been advanced as to the import and meaning of this commandment. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the simple meaning and apparent lesson is that we are to...

KEDOSHIM 5/6/2016 04:52 PM

The demands that the Torah imposes upon us with the large array of commandments that appear in this week's Torah reading are major and taxing. Nevertheless we have a rule that the Torah never demands the impossible from human beings or of human behavior. As such, I feel that the true challenge implicit in the commandment to be a holy and dedicated person – the idea that is present in the...

ACHREI MOS 5/2/2016 03:13 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...