Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

IDEOLOGY AND HUMANENESS

I think that history, both ancient and recent, proves that ideologies by their nature are rigid, oftentimes cruel, even murderous and dangerous. Devotion to a cause, no matter how noble by its very nature, places human beings in a secondary and often expendable position. When the cause is so noble and the venture so necessary and the perceived good of the fulfillment of the ideology are so...

Posted in:
Ethics
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

We are all in favor of equality and justice. The goal of all democratic societies is to have, as far as humanly possible, an incorruptible and fair judicial system. Since, however, judges are only human – no matter how knowledgeable and altruistic they may be, the perfect judicial system has never yet been achieved. Nevertheless, in order to make society livable, we are bidden to obey the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE BROADCASTER

Those of you who regularly read my writings, beloved as you are and may be, know that I like to look at the sport of baseball as a metaphor for life. The simplicity, beauty and quirky unexpectedness and uncertainties of the game accurately mirror the events in one’s personal and national life. Therefore, when I recently read an article about a revered baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully, I felt...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence that certain truths are self-evident. His inspiration for this idea came from our great teacher Moshe who points out clearly in this week's reading that one's choices in life are clearly evident. King Solomon in Kohelet points out that the Lord created human beings and imbued them with simple righteousness, but that they...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EKEV

The Torah reading of this week continues the long, final oration of Moshe to the Jewish people, as he prepares for his own mortal demise. It is important to note that throughout the words of Moshe here in the final book of the Chumash, there is, mixed together, the requirement of the memory of the past – the distant and immediate past – with the vision of the future, again the far future and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

THE PICTURE

A number of months ago my wife and I paid a visit to friends of ours who just completed building their home near our neighborhood. I had known them from my years as being a rabbi in Miami Beach a half-century ago. During that time as a rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation, I taught Talmud daily to the young men of the eleventh grade of the local yeshiva high school. I did so on a voluntary basis...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN

The Torah reading of this week contains within it portions that we read in the synagogue on the morning of Tisha B’Av. With unerring accuracy the story of the Jewish people is predicted in full detail. The consequences of national sin and of an immoral society are outlined – the destruction of the Temples, the loss of national sovereignty, exile, persecution and a history of horror and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE OLYMPICS

The Olympic Games currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are allegedly supposed to be all about sports, fair play and world camaraderie. However, underlying all of the hoopla, spin and fanfare, is the knowledge deep within all of us, that the games are all about money – lots of money for the athletes, promoters, cities involved and the pompous officials who rule the sporting games. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TISHA B’AV

The Talmud traced the causes for the destruction of the First and Second temples to the spiritual failings and sins of the Jewish people. As those assessments are undoubtedly correct, they are observed in the popular view of the events to be the sole and only causes for these national tragedies. However, it should be obvious to all that failed policies, false assessments of the military and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM

No matter how accurately facts are presented, the picture that they impart is incomplete if the element of perspective and background is not also present. The Torah reading of last week concluded the narrative of the creation of the Jewish people and of their special role in human history and civilization. This week we begin to study the final book of the Torah of Moshe. This is the book of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein