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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

MELAVE MALKA

The departure of the Shabat from a Jewish home on Saturday night is a time of bittersweet feelings. It is difficult to simply leave behind the spirit of serenity and well being that the Shabat engenders and it is especially difficult to do so in a sudden and abrupt fashion. The memories of family interaction, Torah study, holy prayer, special foods and physical and mental leisure linger on....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAVDALA

The end of the Shabat is marked by the ceremony of havdala. The word havdala literally means separation, and in this case it refers clearly to our leaving the Shabat, or better put, the Shabat's leaving of us. But in a deeper and far truer sense, the word havdala means a clearly marked sense of differentiation. One of the primary values of Judaism is the ability to separate and differentiate in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

STRENGTH

Having just completed the reading of the book of Bereshit this past Shabat, I was again privileged to participate in the traditional Jewish custom of reciting publicly the blessing "chazak, chazak v'nitzacheik." This blessing is proclaimed at the conclusion of the reading of one of the five books of Moshe. This custom is an ancient one, dating back to Talmudic times in Babylonia and the Land of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEARDS

There is a long tradition in Judaism for men to have beards. This is based originally on the Torah prohibition against shaving facial hair with a straight razor. This prohibition is directly applicable to five places on the head - the connecting point of the chin bone to the skull on both sides of the head, the point of the chin and the area of the bone near the ears of the person. However, the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KNEIDLACH

Even though the Jewish world is now barely recovering from the annual Chanuka onslaught of latkes and sufganiyot, I am nevertheless going to write about another food and its appearance in Jewish history. I was inspired to do so by the words of a noted Israeli politician and then cabinet minister who recently voted against the Israeli government's proposed budget for 2005. He justified his vote...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LASTING HEROES

One of the tendencies of modern historiography is to debunk past heroes. Revisionist historians have blackened the name of some of the great people of the past by dwelling extensively on their human foibles and personal difficulties. Not only does this attitude reinforce the false idea that there are no real heroes in the world, it indirectly absolves all of us from ever attempting to be a hero...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOCUSTS

The recent infestation of Egypt, Jordan and parts of Israel by swarms of locusts serves to remind us of our biblical heritage. In our modern-day, technologically advanced world, crop duster airplanes loaded with pesticides spray the advancing horde of locusts and usually are quite successful in exterminating them before they destroy all of the crops in their path. In biblical days, there was no...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FRAMING THE PICTURE

A very talented young relative of mine is a fine artist. I mean that she is really good. Every family has at least one talented member in its midst and she is ours. She recently painted a magnificent painting and it was sold for a goodly amount of money to a very fine person and art connoisseur. The only rub in the deal was that the painting was unframed and the purchaser asked for it to be...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

Continuing good health is one of the major blessings of life. I think that even more than length of life and increased longevity, a healthy life is what most human beings desire. Unfortunately, the lot of humans is such that sickness, minor and major in nature, is almost unavoidable at some stage in one's existence. Midrash teaches us that there was a time in the world when no one became ill and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JUSTICE

Everyone is in favor of justice in our legal system and in our social and societal lives. Yet justice is an ephemeral and difficult to define concept. Many times what passes for justice is really the personal subjective opinion of a judge or a jury on a complicated and confusing issue. The Torah demands that judges in a Jewish society strive to "judge the people with righteous correct judgment."...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein