Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

A TALE OF TWO SEATS

I recently flew to the United States from Israel. For various undoubtedly good and sundry reasons that I was unaware of – though many of my fellow passengers who “know” everything about everything had various and conflicting stories as to the cause – El Al was flying a Portuguese airplane and crew on this flight. The airplane was not the one I was familiar with and my seat though being in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOACH

It is understandably easy to become disgusted with human beings, with society and with the behavior of individuals. Over the many millennia, from the days of Noach until today, human history is a litany of violence, war, massacres of innocents, corruption, false idols, bankrupt ideals and constant strife. Europe has not known a war-free time for many centuries. The very agencies created by...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DOING BETTER

In a recent article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal one of the opinion writers for that esteemed newspaper wrote a thoughtful piece about his feelings as he embarked on the annual fast day of holiness. The main thrust of his article was that American society can and should do better. It should produce better candidates for the presidency, it should be a more robust society, it should be...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

BERESHITH

One of the wisest and most astute comments of the rabbis of the Talmud regarding life is that “ all new beginnings are difficult.” That certainly is true regarding the beginning of human civilization as described for us in this week’s Torah reading. Everything that seemingly could go wrong did go wrong. Death, murder, fratricide, autocracy and oppression all make their due appearance in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

VZOT HABRACHA

Rashi points out that the blessings of Moshe to the Jewish people are based upon and mirror those of Yaakov as recorded for us at the end of the book of Bereshith. There are blessings that are eternal and always valid. There are those that are contemporary to the times in which they were given but have little relevance to other times. The blessings of both Yaakov and Moshe are of two individual...

Posted in:
Bible/ Tanach
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUCCOT

The festival of Succot marks the culmination, so to speak, of the holy month of Tishrei. Though all of the festivals of the Jewish year retain a solemnity regarding their observance, the festival of Succot is marked as being a time of joy and celebration. The natural beauty of the holiday, as it is accompanied by the climate and agricultural bounty of the Land of Israel, enhances the celebration...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAAZINU

Haazinu is a poem with definite stanzas. It is one of the few places in the Torah where Jewish law dictates where the stops in the Torah reading should take place. This is done in order to retain the integrity of the poetic form of the reading. Aside from the aesthetic value of poetry itself, the Torah wishes to emphasize to us that there is a rhythm, order and cadence in life that influences us...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYELECH

Moshe’s fixation with the covenant between God and Israel, so evident in the Torah readings of the past two weeks, continues apace this week. Only now there is a note of desperation in Moshe’s words and tone. He bluntly states that he knows that after his death the Jewish people will shirk the obligations of the covenant and fall prey to worshiping false gods and non-Jewish values. No...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A NEW BEGINNING

This season of the year always signals the start of a new beginning. In its most limited sense, this new beginning is in terms of the Jewish calendar year. However, all of us sense that the new beginning is much more than just purchasing a new calendar. We desperately seek a truly fresh start, an opportunity to discard past errors and their consequences and to move from the sometimes darkness of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM

In emphasizing once again the eternal validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people, Moshe addresses his words to the entire nation. All classes of society are included in the covenant – the heads of the people, the judges, the wealthy and powerful, the poor, menial and manual laborer, those that chop the wood and draw the water. No one is excluded from the terms of the covenant and no...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein