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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

הקושי שבשינוי

הבדיחה המוכרת, "כמה פסיכיאטרים צריך כדי להחליף נורה? רק אחד, אבל הנורה צריכה לרצות להתחלף", מדברת מאוד ללבי. אחרי יותר מיובל שנים ברבנות ובחינוך התורני, שוב ושוב נוכחתי שיש באמירה הזאת הרבה אמת. נדיר ששינוי מושג רק על ידי...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYECHI

Our father Yaakov lived for seventeen years in the Goshen area of the land of Egypt. These were undoubtedly the most peaceful, serene and happiest years of his long and troubled life. He is reunited with his beloved son Yosef who has risen to power and greatness, albeit in a strange land. No Eisav, no Lavan, no Shechem, no Canaanite neighbors are present to disturb his peace and security. And,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE DIFFICULTY OF CHANGE

The old witticism about “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the bulb has to want to be changed!” resonates deep within me. After over a half-century in the rabbinate and in Torah education I have witnessed the truth of this shrewd observation time and again. Change is rarely accomplished by purely outside pressures, legislation or even coercion. It...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ויחי

יעקב אבינו חי 17 שנים בארץ גושן שבמצרים. אין ספק שאלה היו השנים הכי שלוות ומאושרות בחייו מלאי התהפוכות. הוא התאחד שוב עם יוסף, בנו האהוב, שעלה לשלטון ולגדולה, על אף היותו נוכרי בארץ. לא היו בחייו עשיו, לבן, שכם או שכנים...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYIGASH

Yehuda finally confronts Yosef and in his frustration at the way events have developed, he speaks to the ruler of Egypt with direct and even harsh words. But what is most amazing in the whole Torah narrative regarding the brothers and Yosef is that not for a moment do the brothers realize that the Egyptian ruler, who has so unfairly tormented them, is in fact Yosef, their brother. The...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE TRUTH OF SATIRE

There is a wickedly funny and enormously sad piece of satire making the rounds about a “Lithuanian” charedi father attempting to explain to his inquisitive child the story of the Hasmoneans and their triumph over the Greeks. On the one hand the Hasmoneans were staunch “Lithuanian “charedim who learned all day, while on the other hand they apparently had weapons, organized an army that...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

MIKETZ

All of the people involved in the human drama described for us in this week’s Torah reading are haunted by their past actions, behavior and attitudes. Pharaoh is disturbed by his dreams of an empire where the strong overwhelm the weak and suddenly this past dream turns into a nightmare of the weak devouring the strong. Pharaoh’s butler thought that he had placed his past indiscretions...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PROMISES

There was recently a fairly bruising primary election here in Israel for leadership of the Labor Party, the main current opposition faction in the Israeli Knesset. As is always the case in electioneering, the two candidates made many solemn promises to their voters. “Vote for me and I promise you that I will do great things for you and for our party,” was their mantra. Of course we all...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYESHEV

The Torah parsha begins with the simple narrative statement that Yaakov settled and “dwelled in the land of the sojourn of his forefathers, the Land of Canaan.” That last clause in that sentence – the Land of Canaan – seems to be superfluous. We are already well aware from the previous parshiyot of Bereshith that Avraham and Yitzchak dwelt in the Land of Canaan. Since every word and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WELCOME, WELL SORT OF, FRANCOIS

One of the many continuing and ongoing wonders of our wonderful little state is that everyone (except for most American Jews) seems to wish to visit us. We are treated all year long to a plethora of visiting heads of states, commercial delegations, foreign legislators, religious leaders of all faiths, professors and intellectuals, artists and musicians and a few million other nice people. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein