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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

EIKEV

Rashi, in commenting on the first word of this week's parsha, employs an interpretation of the word eikev, whichinthecontext of the verse itself means “since” or “because.” It usually denotes a cause and effect relationship – because you will observe God's commandments, then blessings and physical rewards will descend upon you. Rashi, however, based on midrash, expands the meaning of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CONFUSING ROLES

All people are duty bound to try and help other people in need of such help. Rabbis are especially called upon to be available to help others in their times of distress and difficulties. Nevertheless, it is essential for one to be able to recognize one's limitations and true role. Many a rabbi has gotten himself into deep trouble by acting as a psychologist, therapist, financial advisor,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN

In this week's parsha the Torah records for us the revelation at Sinai and a restatement of the Ten Commandments. The text of the Ten Commandments as recorded in this week's parsha differs somewhat from the text of the Ten Commandments as they appear in parshat Yitro. These differences are commented upon and explained to us in the Talmud, Midrash and in the later commentaries to the Torah. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THIS ONE FEELS DIFFERENT

I have been present in Israel for a number of wars that this small, grave country has been forced to endure. Even before I made Aliyah, I was present here during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein rained SCUDs on a then defenseless population here in Israel. Since then I have lived here as an Israeli resident and citizen during the first and second intifada, the second Lebanon war, the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FECKLESSNESS AND UNWISDOM

In Winston Churchill's epic six-volume memoir of the Second World War, in the first volume entitled “The Gathering Storm,” he wrote of the British foreign policy of the 1930s as follows: “[The later disaster was caused by] the English-speaking peoples, [who] through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature, allowed the wicked to rearm." A good nature is a necessity for personal...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM

People who attain blessed advanced age and many years tend to look back in time and concentrate less on the future. Old rabbis write autobiographies. Past events, which were previously sublimated and hardly ever recalled, suddenly become vivid memories worthy of meaningful contemplation. An example of this is to be found in the words of our father Jacob to his children in his final days when...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

MAASEI

There is a trend amongst all biblical commentators in the Jewish world to view the biblical description of past events that occurred to our ancestors from the time of Abraham through the beginning of Second Temple times as being not only a description of past events but to also subtly indicate the course of all events that would befall the Jewish people. This type of idea perhaps helps us to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH

In my many decades as a public speaker I have encountered many reactions to my words. Though most people love me and are enthralled by what I have to say, many times people have somehow vehemently disagreed and have informed me of their negative opinions. Sometimes people have even walked out while I was still speaking to express their displeasure. Once or twice I remember being heckled by...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT

The subject matter that begins this week's parsha concerns itself with vows and commitments that one undertakes to perform or to abstain from. There is an entire tractate in the Talmud – Nedarim – that discusses this subject almost exclusively. In Jewish life, even an oral commitment in many cases can be considered to be binding. The Torah expressly teaches us that one should live up to and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein