Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

CHUKAT 6/25/2017 12:18 PM

The unraveling of the destiny of the generation of Jews that left Egypt reaches its climax in the Torah reading of this week. All of the leaders of the people will not bring them to the promised land of Israel. This is true not only of the leaders of the individual tribes in the desert but even Moshe and Aharon are doomed not to witness the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel. The...

KORACH 6/19/2017 12:53 PM

It is always astounding to see and realize how ego, turf and ambition can blind even great people who are otherwise wise and even pious personalities. Human society suffers greatly from this phenomenon and religious society is not exempt from its erroneous consequences. In fact, religious society is more susceptible to these ills simply because character failings can be wrapped in piety with the...

SHLACH 6/12/2017 12:00 PM

Revisiting a story on the spies that Moshe sent to the Land of Israel is always a very discouraging moment. How could everything have gone so wrong and so fast? All of the reasons advanced over the ages by the great commentators to the Torah – personal ambition, fear of the unknown, disregard for tradition, lack of faith in God, etc. – are undoubtedly true and correct. But to a certain extent...

B’HALOTCHA 6/5/2017 02:32 PM

The menorah has been one of the symbols of the Jewish people from time immemorial. It remains so today as well, it being one of the major symbols representing the Jewish state of Israel. The original menorah was cast and fashioned from one solid, large piece of gold. According to Jewish tradition, the construction of this great artifact was so detailed and complicated that it was beyond the ken...

NASSO 5/28/2017 12:11 PM

The human drive to be unique and special, to stand out in a crowd, to identify one's self in terms of being of a different status than others, is common to all of us. Many times in life we measure ourselves not by our own lives but rather how we differ from all of the people that surround us. This is true in the usual and mundane events of life that occur to us daily. But it is also true in the...

SHAVUOT 5/21/2017 12:52 PM

Shavuot is a very difficult holiday to capture emotionally. It is very short in duration – in Israel is only one day while in the Diaspora is two days – and in many respects is over before we can make any valid assessment of its importance and impact. In the Torah itself it appears as an agricultural holiday occurring fifty days after the holiday of national freedom, Pesach. By...

BAMIDBAR 5/21/2017 12:23 PM

The necessity to continually count the Jewish people, evidenced in this week’s Torah reading and, in fact, in the balance of the text of the remainder of this book of the Torah, remains a perplexing issue. The rabbis of the Talmud and the later commentators to the Torah saw this continual counting of the Jewish people as a sign of God’s love for Israel. A person who has rare valuables or...

B’HAR – B’CHKOTAI 5/14/2017 02:33 PM

The book of Vayikra, which contains so many detailed commandments and minute details of ritual within it, concludes with a broad view and general description of Jewish faith. It restates the original premise of Bereshith, that the earth and its inhabitants belong to God and are free agents as to the limits that God has imposed upon them. The basic premise is that “the earth belongs to...

EMOR 5/8/2017 01:11 PM

In commenting on the double use of the verb “emor” and “v’amarta,” Rashi states that the lesson to be derived from this grammatical anomaly is that the elder generation is charged with instructing and guiding the younger generation. This apparently simple and very necessary and logical requirement is more difficult to implement than it was to state. Younger generations are...

ACHREI – KEDOSHIM 5/1/2017 02:46 PM

All of us are aware of the difficulty of translating lofty values and ideas into practical daily human behavior. We all wish to be kind and gentle, considerate of others and their needs, a holy and good people. But life and its challenges and complexities always interfere and make the achievement of these goals difficult and elusive. The goal of being a consecrated, good and holy nation,...