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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

PESACH 3/30/2015 01:48 PM

Someone remarked to me recently that he did not see or feel how anything new could be discussed at his Seder table – everything that could have been said and analyzed had been said over all of the past decades of his commemorating Pesach. I told him that I thought he had too narrow a view concerning the commemoration of Pesach. The broad human and particularly Jewish issues of bondage,...

TZAV 3/23/2015 12:02 PM

The entire book of Vayikra is described in rabbinic literature as Torat Kohanim – the laws, instructions, rituals and duties of Aharon and his sons, the founders of the priestly family of Israel. In this week’s Torah reading, Moshe is instructed to command Aharon regarding the daily sacrifices to be offered in the Mishkan/Tabernacle and the keeping of eternal fire that always was to be...

SHABAT HAGADOL 3/23/2015 11:52 AM

The Shabbat that immediately precedes the holiday of Passover carries with it the title of being Shabbat Hagadol – the great and exalted Shabbat. There are many explanations advanced as to why this Shabbat should merit that special title. The one most often advanced is that the tenth day of Nissan – the day when the actual redemption from Egypt began by the Jews taking the paschal lamb into...

VAYIKRA 3/16/2015 01:19 PM

The word vayikra that begins this week's Torah reading, and is the name of the third book of the Chumash, is distinguished by having a miniature alef at the end of the word. I have written about this exceptional script/font in previous years. I concentrated then mainly on the traditional explanation that this small letter was inserted in the Torah to highlight the abject humility of our teacher...

ויקרא 3/15/2015 01:59 PM

המילה "ויקרא" שפותחת את פרשת השבוע, והיא גם שמו של החומש השלישי, מיוחדת באלף הקטנה שמופיעה בסוף המילה. כתבתי על הפונט המיוחד הזה בשנים קודמות. אז התמקדתי בעיקר בפירוש המסורתי שאומר שהאות הזעירה הזאת נכנסה לתורה כדי...

VAYAKHEL – PEKUDEI 3/9/2015 01:44 PM

The main lesson of this week's Torah reading, which may possibly be obscured by the wealth of Mishkan detail that appears in these closing chapters of the book of Shemot,, is the basic Jewish concept of accountability. Moshe accounts for all of the work that was done in the construction of the Mishkan/tabernacle and for every shekel that was expended in that project. Moshe was troubled when...

ויקהל-פקודי 3/8/2015 02:37 PM

הלקח העיקרי שאנחנו לומדים בפרשת השבוע, שמסתתר אולי בין שפע הפרטים על המשכן בפרקים אחרונים אלה של ספר שמות, הוא תפיסת יסוד ביהדות: מתן דין וחשבון. משה מציג לבני ישראל דין וחשבון על כל העבודה שנעשתה בבניית המשכן ועל כל...

KI TISA 3/2/2015 01:22 PM

Even after millennia of analysis, commentary and sagacious insights, the story of the Jewish people creating and worshiping the Golden Calf, as recorded for us in this week's Torah reading, remains an enigma and a mystery. After all of the miracles of Egypt and the splitting of Yam Suf, manna from heaven and the revelation at Sinai, how is such a thing possible? The fact that our great...

תצווה 2/24/2015 01:03 PM

אם הבגדים עושים את האדם, ברור שלבוש הכהנים, ההדיוט וגם הגדול, מקנה ומבטא את הסמכות והקדושה של תפקידם. אחד התנאים שכהן צריך לקיים על מנת שיוכל לבצע את תפקידו בבית המקדש הוא ללבוש את הבגדים המתאימים שמאפיינים את תפקידו...

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...