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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

MAASEI

The Torah reading of this week marks not only the conclusion of the book of Bamidbar but also of the narrative portion which tells of the formation of the Jewish people. It has truly been a long journey from the Garden of Eden, from original man to the banks of the Jordan River. It tells of the development of a special people whose influence and contribution to the world will be in far greater...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

I DON’T KNOW

My dear friend and esteemed member of our congregation, Professor Robert Aumann, told me a thoroughly wonderful story with a deep moral message. He had gone to visit the late, great Rabbi Gustman in the hospital where the rabbi was being treated for a sore on his foot. His physician was the famed Dr. Heiman, an exceptional person in his own right. The doctor came into the room and told Rabbi...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HARD CHOICES

Life consists of a constant series of hard choices that one is forced to make - and this is true of nations as well as of individuals. And, most of the problems of life are caused by the fact that these choices are almost never win – win situations but are rather choices where both are bad options. The Talmud ruefully advises us to choose the least bad alternative available when we are forced...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT

Throughout the entire Torah it seems clear that the Jewish people were to maintain the system of separate tribes with separate leaders. At first glance, it seems that this system of separate tribes would always guarantee a strong element of disunity within the Jewish people. Would it not have been better to discard the original tribal system of the house of Jacob and build instead a more unified...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBINIC RESPONSIBILITY

Since the myth of rabbinic infallibility has become entrenched, exaggerated and untrue as it may be, it has unwittingly caused many other dire consequences. Since rabbis are somehow not able to discern the future and to be aware of the true motives and behavior patterns of those congregants and strangers who avail themselves of rabbinic services, rabbis are held accountable for the behavior of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

The count of the Jewish people that appears in this week's Torah reading occurs after a long string of unpleasant incidents and tragedies in this final period of their sojourn in the Sinai desert. The simple understanding of this sequence of events and subsequent count of the people is that after so many had died in the desert; Moshe had to have an accurate number of the Jewish people before...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

There are people in the world who are simply too meddlesome for their own good. As King Solomon points out in Proverbs, they provoke passing dogs and engage in quarrels and controversies that really do not affect them directly. That is the main transgression of Balak as described in this week's Torah reading. The Jewish people are not threatening him or his nation. They just happened to be around...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A MESSY WORLD

It is fairly obvious to any unbiased observer of our current world scene that things are pretty messy right now. The economic markets are reeling from the unexpected decision of the British electorate to leave the European Union. The sectarian wars in the Moslem world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia continue without mercy, without abatement and with no exit strategy in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT IS HOT OUTSIDE

From a purely nonscientific, anecdotal and personal viewpoint, I think that this past June has been unusually hot, weather-wise. Of course, I really don't remember how hot the past Junes have been but it is only a natural tendency to think that past times were always more pleasant than the current ones. I imagine that the official Israeli meteorological bureau will soon inform us as to the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHUKAT

The entire book of Bamidbar is a litany of bad behavior, poor choices and a lack of faith that dooms that generation – a great generation that left Egypt triumphantly and miraculously – to death in the desert of Sinai. But perhaps the most tragic event on a human and personal level is contained in this week's Torah reading when the fate of Moshe is sealed. He will not be allowed to enter...

Posted in:
Bible/ Tanach
by
Rabbi Berel Wein