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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

VAYIKRA 3/27/2017 01:36 PM

The Torah emphasizes in the opening words of this week’s Torah reading that God, so to speak, called out to Moshe to instruct him in the laws and strictures of sacrifices in the Temple service. What is the significance of “calling out” – which always implies doing so by name, such as by parents naming their child – instead of the usual verses beginning that God, so to speak, “spoke”...

VAYAKHEL – PEKUDEI 3/20/2017 04:01 PM

The Torah reading of the book of Shemot concludes this week with the reading of the total portion of Vayakhel and Pekudei. These two portions are a fitting conclusion to the long narrative describing the construction of the Taberncle/Mishkan. Every great project, whether physical or spiritual, is yet incomplete without an accounting being given as to the investment, effort and cost relating to...

KI TISA 3/13/2017 12:58 PM

One of the most important, albeit only subtly presented, messages in this week’s Torah reading is that of the enormous influence that current culture fads and beliefs have upon the society of its time. I do not believe that there is any other way for us to review the events of the creation and the worship of the Golden Calf by the Jewish people. Amazing in its brazenness and brainlessness,...

PURIM 3/6/2017 01:59 PM

The Megillah of Esther itself tells us that the memory and commemoration of the days of Purim will continue until eternity and never disappear from Jewish life. Extraordinarily, the Talmud expands this statement to mean that even at the end of days when the other commandments of the Torah may no longer be necessary because of the exalted state of spirituality within the Jewish nation and mankind...

TETZAVEH – ZACHOR 3/6/2017 12:35 PM

Although it is obvious from the context of the previous parts of the Torah that when the Torah states “and you shall command” the you referred to is Moshe, nevertheless the name of Moshe does not appear in this week's Torah reading. Many explanations, ideas and commentaries have been advanced over the ages as to why his name is absent from this portion of the Torah. His name is so...

TERUMAH 2/27/2017 02:15 PM

One of the great deficiencies and dangers that face organized religions, and certainly Judaism as well, is its necessary connection to fundraising. In a perfect world, religion would be completely separate from the necessity to obtain and dispense money – in fact, from any monetary consideration whatsoever. However since this perfect world has not yet been achieved, the problems and influence...

MISHPATIM 2/19/2017 02:34 PM

The Talmud develops for us the complex laws that are laid out here in this week’s Torah reading. In fact, a great proportion of the tractates of the Talmud are involved in explaining the words, ideas and practical implications of the verses that appear in this week’s Torah reading. Judaism is a religion of behavior and practicality and not only of soaring spirituality and otherworldly...

YITRO 2/15/2017 02:27 PM

The idea of a multilayered judicial system is advanced in this week's Torah reading by Yitro, the father-in-law of Moshe. As it appears in the Torah, Moshe originally envisioned himself as being the sole judge of the Jewish people and that all matters, great and petty, should be brought before him for judgment and decision. Yitro advises him that neither he nor the people would survive under...

B’SHALACH 2/6/2017 03:45 PM

This week’s Torah reading mentions the eternal problem that all fundraisers for institutions face – namely, that though one may have been successful in raising great sums of money for buildings, it is much more difficult to raise funds for the necessary daily maintenance of the institution and for the salaries of those who are involved with it on a daily basis. The Jewish people truly...

SHABBAT FOOD 2/6/2017 03:10 PM

One of the many distinctive features about the holy day of Shabbat is its full menu. This naturally varies among the different ethnic groups that comprise the Jewish people. As a descendant of Lithuanian Eastern European Jews, I actually associate Shabbat with gefilte fish, chicken soup and hot cholent. Now that may not have been the menu for Jews in Yemen or in Iraq, and I readily acknowledge...