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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

THE NON-SLIP TALIT

A dear friend and rabbinic colleague of mine casually mentioned to me that as a gift for his birthday his wife presented him with a new tallit - the kind that does not constantly slip off of one’s shoulders when in prayerful use. I was intrigued by this revelation on two counts. There are still spouses around who give each other birthday gifts?! And, secondly, is it possible that technology has...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BO

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...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DENIERS AND IGNORERS

I wrote an article last week about the strange Holocaust deniers who exist in the world, inside and outside of our Jewish camp and even in our religious world. The motives that drive such people are diverse and often perverse. They range from the smugness of knowing what God’s plans are and the assurance that those plans must somehow conform to one’s own preconceived assessment as to how...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE NEWEST HOLOCAUST DENIERS

I rarely if ever comment or disagree with pronouncements or public statements of other rabbis. These are people who are driven to publicity and even sensationalism and I never feel inclined to spoil their fun. However, every so often there comes along a rabbinic pronouncement so outrageous and damaging that even my reticent nature forces me to respond. A rabbi is reported in public print and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LEADERSHIP

The fact that the current Torah readings concentrate on the life and career of Moshe as being the all-time supreme leader of the Jewish people, and through them of civilization generally, caused me to give some thought to the trait of leadership. We always think of leadership as a positive trait. Yet, some of the most charismatic and successful leaders of nations and empires have been very bad...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Vaeira

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...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HATERS AND PROBLEMS

Hate is a very powerful emotion. It generates skewed vision, violent behavior, and in historical terms, national and personal disasters. There are many causes for hatred. Jealousy, indoctrination, feelings of revenge and suspicions (many times completely unfounded)are just a few. But the most lethal forms of hatred that usually unleash killing and mayhem are those that are religiously or...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHEMOT

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...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ON BEING CURRENTLY RELEVANT

The “hot-button” topics in our ever-changing society rarely have much staying power. They seem somehow to fizzle out of their own accord, having made a lot of noise, spawning countless op-ed pontifications but rarely leading to substantive change or benefit in our lives and societies. The main issue facing world Jewry is its shrinking population due to the ravages of assimilation and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYECHI

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...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein