Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

TETZAVEH 2/23/2015 01:21 PM

If clothes make the man, the garments of the ordinary priests and the High Priest of Israel certainly grant them the authority and holiness of their offices. One of the major disqualifications that affected the priest’s ability to perform services in the Temple was that he lacked the proper clothing that characterized and identified him. We find generally in Jewish life that clothing plays an...

TERUMAH 2/16/2015 03:57 PM

The initial and most successful building campaign in Jewish history is recorded for us in this week's Torah reading. The Torah, in recounting the event, teaches us that Moshe was to accept offerings of gold, silver, copper, precious stones, weaving materials, acacia wood, artistic talent and everything else that would be necessary for the construction of the great tabernacle/mishkan in the...

תרומה 2/15/2015 05:43 PM

בפרשת השבוע מסופר על גיוס התרומות הראשון והמוצלח ביותר בהיסטוריה היהודית לצורך בניית בניין. כשהתורה מתארת את העניין, היא מספרת שמשה רבנו אמור לקבל מנחות של זהב, כסף, נחושת, אבנים יקרות, אריגים, עצי שיטים, כישרונות...

MISHPATIM 2/8/2015 05:36 AM

One of the most puzzling, if not even disturbing subjects, discussed in biblical and halachic detail, appears in this week’s Torah reading. That subject matter concerns itself with the institution of slavery – of literally owning another human being and defining them as human chattel. Certainly, the entire subject matter grates on the ears and sensibilities of Western citizens in our current...

משפטים 2/6/2015 03:10 PM

בפרשת השבוע מופיע אחד הנושאים הכי מתמיהים, ומטרידים אפילו, שנדונים בפרוטרוט בתורה ובהלכה. הנושא הזה הוא עבדות – הבעלות, פשוטו כמשמעו, של אדם אחד על בן אדם אחר והגדרתו כפריט רכוש אנושי. אין ספק שהנושא כולו צורם מאוד...

YITRO 2/2/2015 12:59 PM

There are two different viewpoints as to the timing and to the nature of the visit of Yitro to the Jewish encampment in the desert of Sinai. One opinion is that he came before the revelation of God to the Jews and the granting of the Torah to them. The other opinion is that he came after Sinai and the Torah revelation. I think that these two different opinions really delve into the character and...

B’SHALACH - SHIRA 1/26/2015 01:43 PM

There are many different types of songs familiar to human society. There are songs of triumph and of resignation and acceptance. There are songs of joy and love and anthems of hatred and violence. There are songs of nostalgia and remembrance and songs of hope in future greatness. There are also hymns of faith and melodies of rebellion and change. In short, in human history, one can almost...

BO 1/19/2015 12:59 PM

The story of the Jewish people’s suffering under Egyptian bondage reaches its climax in this week's Torah reading and in the beginning part of next week's Torah reading as well. The Torah does not really dwell on the history and political significance of this momentous event. It tells us of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, of the stubbornness of Pharaoh and of the eventual capitulation...

VAEIRA 1/12/2015 12:03 PM

The extended, tension filled, confrontation between Moshe and Pharaoh forms the backdrop for the story of the plagues and the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Pharaoh, from the outset, is unwilling to consider the offer of Moshe to allow the Jewish people a three day furlough to worship God in the desert. The commentators to the Torah differ as to whether or not this was a sincere...

SHEMOT 1/5/2015 03:33 PM

The status of the Jewish people in Egypt changed rather abruptly. For well over a century after the death of Yosef and the original family of Yaakov, the Jewish people resided in Egypt under favorable if not even idyllic conditions. They multiplied in terms of population, wealth and influence. Their success, to a certain extent, also became their undoing for the Torah tells us that they...