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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

A RETURN TO THE SABBATH 9/15/2014 12:36 PM

During this period of reflective thought, there is one issue that, in my opinion, stands out. And that is the issue of Sabbath observance within the Jewish world. The rabbis of the Talmud placed the Sabbath at the forefront of all the commandments, and essentially as the lodestone of Jewish identity. Sabbath observance brought with it personal trust and cooperation in all social and religious...

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH 9/15/2014 12:22 PM

The Torah reading for this week is a fitting conclusion to the year that is about to depart from us. At the end of his long life and after decades of service to the Jewish people, Moshe renews the covenant between God and the people of Israel. He makes clear to the new generation of Jews standing before him, a generation that was not part of the experience of Egypt, nor present at the moment of...

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL 9/8/2014 03:10 PM

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

KI TAVO 9/8/2014 02:35 PM

In this week’s parsha, all of Jewish history is reflected in the two relatively short scenarios that the Torah describes for us. There is the opening section of the parsha – the promise that the Jewish people will come into the Land of Israel, settle there, develop the country, build the Temple and express their gratitude to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon them. They will...

KI TETZEI 9/2/2014 01:45 PM

In this week’s parsha, the Torah portrays for us an accurate and unforgiving view of war and its personal consequences. No one who participates in a war escapes unscathed. The ones who are killed or wounded have suffered physically, but even those who have survived the battle whole are still affected. That is the supremely important, albeit sublimina,l message of the beginning of this...

SHOFTIM 8/25/2014 01:44 PM

Law and order are the hallmarks of a functioning democratic society. The concept that one can receive fair redress for damages and hurts through an equitable system of established justice is central to the concept of a free society that provides individual rights to its citizens. However, dictatorships also provide law and order for those who live under their rule - a little too much law and...

RE’EIH 8/17/2014 03:15 PM

The use of the verb re’eih by the Torah to begin this week's Torah reading indicates that the seemingly complicated and abstract choices in life regarding faith and doubt, good and evil, right and wrong and life and death are really simple ones. The word re’eih denotes something that can be seen with the naked eye and needs no great thought or judgment to identify it. The Torah implies...

EIKEV 8/10/2014 03:11 PM

Rashi, in commenting on the first word of this week's parsha, employs an interpretation of the word eikev, whichinthecontext of the verse itself means “since” or “because.” It usually denotes a cause and effect relationship – because you will observe God's commandments, then blessings and physical rewards will descend upon you. Rashi, however, based on midrash, expands the meaning of...

VAETCHANAN 8/3/2014 03:07 PM

In this week's parsha the Torah records for us the revelation at Sinai and a restatement of the Ten Commandments. The text of the Ten Commandments as recorded in this week's parsha differs somewhat from the text of the Ten Commandments as they appear in parshat Yitro. These differences are commented upon and explained to us in the Talmud, Midrash and in the later commentaries to the Torah. ...

THIS ONE FEELS DIFFERENT 8/3/2014 01:52 PM

I have been present in Israel for a number of wars that this small, grave country has been forced to endure. Even before I made Aliyah, I was present here during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein rained SCUDs on a then defenseless population here in Israel. Since then I have lived here as an Israeli resident and citizen during the first and second intifada, the second Lebanon war, the...