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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

MISHPATIM 2/1/2016 11:59 AM

One would perhaps have thought that after the exalted experience of God’s revelation at Mount Sinai, the Torah would proceed to portray the idyllic life that Torah represents, both spiritually and physically. Instead, this week’s Torah reading describes a rather fractured world – one of slavery, criminal behavior, property disputes, physical assaults and negligent behavior. Would it not...

YITRO 1/24/2016 06:46 AM

The mores present in today’s Western world seem to suggest that the Ten Commandments are, at best, recommendations but certainly not legal or moral mandatory obligations. The commandments that relate to money and to sexual probity are publicly violated, almost with impunity, on a seemingly daily basis. This is true with regard to all religious groups, including ours as well. One would have...

BSHALACH 1/17/2016 07:45 AM

There is a great difference in the perception of a momentous historic event, between the generation that actually experienced it, was witness to and perhaps even participated in it, and later generations who know of the event through tradition and history. The facts regarding events can be transmitted from one generation to the next, even for thousands of years, but the emotional quality, the...

BO 1/11/2016 02:01 PM

As the drama of the Exodus from Egypt draws nearer its climax in this week’s Torah reading, one cannot help but be struck by the stubbornness of Pharaoh in the face of all of the plagues visited upon him and his nation. His advisers had long before told him that all was lost and that he should cut his losses quickly by freeing the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery. This seemingly wise and...

Vaeira 1/3/2016 09:00 AM

The comparison of the complaint of Moshe to God about His lack of compassion regarding the enslaved and persecuted Jews in Egypt, to the more sanguine acceptance of God’s will by the patriarchs of Israel of an earlier generation is somewhat puzzling. Moshe’s complaint is really a cry of anguish and pain over the desperate situation of the Jews in Egyptian bondage rather than a statement of...

SHEMOT 12/28/2015 12:57 PM

It should be obvious to all that Moshe is a very unlikely choice to head the Jewish people, to redeem them from Egyptian bondage, and to bring the Torah down from Heaven to the Jewish people and eventually to all of humankind. It is also clear that Moshe would not be the likely one to guide them through the vicissitudes of war, thirst and forty years sojourn in the desert of Sinai. Rambam...

VAYECHI 12/21/2015 03:55 PM

The conclusion of the book of Bereshith reaches its climax this week with the recording for us of the death of our father Yaakov and of Yosef. The era of the founders of our people ended in relative tranquility and contentment, albeit on foreign soil. It will be a long and arduous journey for the descendants of Yaakov to return home to the Land of Israel. A dark and forbidding era is about...

VAYIGASH 12/14/2015 01:50 PM

The opening verses of this week's Torah reading are among the most dramatic and challenging in the entire Torah. Two great, powerful personalities in the house of the children of Yaakov, Yehudah and Yosef, engage in a clash and debate of epic proportions, regarding the release of their brother Binyamin. At first glance it seems obvious that Yosef has the upper hand in his struggle. After...

MIKETZ 12/7/2015 01:26 PM

The dreamer is about to be saved by dreams, albeit not the ones that he dreamt but rather those of an unlikely stranger – the Pharaoh of Egypt himself. But dreams are dreams and often times they do not coincide with human reality. What makes Yosef so extraordinary in the eyes of Pharaoh was his ability to, so to speak, dream along with Pharaoh, interpret his dreams and translate them into...

CHANUKA TODAY 12/7/2015 01:09 PM

The Maccabees of old lived in a very fortuitous time. Had they lived today they would be accused of extrajudicial executions of the poor Syrian Greeks who, after all, were only trying to kill them and improve their civilization. At least that is certainly how the Foreign Minister of Sweden would have seen the matter. But since Sweden at that time was inhabited by pagan tribes and there was no...