Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

RABBI CHAIM ZELIG FASMAN

My beloved friend and study partner from my yeshiva days in Chicago, Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman, passed away recently. I was really brought up very short and greatly distressed at learning of his passing. Even though seventy years and the space of great continents separated us, one never forgets or is really distant from one’s learning partner – we studied together on a daily basis for nine...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHALOTCHA

Somehow, things start to go very wrong for Moshe and the Jewish people regarding their sojourn in the desert of Sinai, on their way to the Promised Land of Israel. The defection of Yitro, though for honorable and seemingly noble reasons, weakens the resolution of the rest of Israel to somehow enter and conquer their God-given homeland. The rabbis warned us that wise people and leaders should...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUMMERTIME

No matter what official calendars may say, there is no question that the summer has arrived here in Israel. We have had quite a number of hot spells already and there will undoubtedly be many more over the coming months. Summer generally has become synonymous with leisure, vacations, trips and a more relaxed view of life. Naturally, there are always uncertain events, completely unpredictable...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NASSO

The role of the Levites in Jewish life was a very important one, even though it was not always completely delineated and defined. The essential task of the Levites was to serve as the caretakers in charge of the maintenance of the holy Temple. The Talmud called them "the gatekeepers.” They were, so to speak, the maintenance staff of the Temple, assisting the priests in their tasks, though not...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHAVUOT

Although there is no really accurate way to measure the relative importance of the holidays of the Jewish calendar year, I think that we can all agree that the holiday of Shavuot appears to be the least dramatic of them all. The Torah describes it as an agricultural feast day commemorating the grain harvest and the greening of the first fruits of the season as an offering in the Temple in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR

In this week’s reading of the Torah, almost the entire text is devoted to a count of the Jewish people as they encamped in the desert of Sinai. Later in this same book of the Torah, a further count will be taken and recorded. This idea of taking a census of the population of the nation is easily understood and accepted in our society as well. Currently almost all countries and societies...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MACHERS

Because of the constantly creeping overreach of government into all areas of our lives, a new industry was created here in Israel – and certainly not only in Israel but in every other country and political system in the world. Here in Israel, people who are engaged full time in this industry are called “machers.” Loosely translated from the original Yiddish, the word connotes people who are...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

BECHUKOTAI

From a cursory review of this week’s Torah reading, one can easily come to the conclusion that God’s method for dealing with us is with earthly rewards and punishments. The blessings that appear in the reading are all physical, emotional and sometimes psychological. There is no mention of eternal life, the survival of the soul, and/or of the rewards in the World to Come. And the same is...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NORMALCY

One of the most difficult standards to judge or even define is what is considered normal behavior. We all aspire to a sense of normalcy and in fact we wish to live him a society that is considered normal. The problem is how do we judge normalcy? What was abnormal or even abhorrent behavior just a few decades ago is today within the realm of acceptability. So, there is no doubt that any...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BOOKS Redux

A dear friend of mine recently immigrated here to Israel and Jerusalem. As is the case with almost all Western immigrants to our wonderful little country, he was forced to downsize. We all somehow learned to live here in apartments and houses half the size of those that we inhabited in the "old home." To those of us who are bibliophiles, this presents an especially painful problem. We...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein