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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

LEADERSHIP

The fact that the current Torah readings concentrate on the life and career of Moshe as being the all-time supreme leader of the Jewish people, and through them of civilization generally, caused me to give some thought to the trait of leadership. We always think of leadership as a positive trait. Yet, some of the most charismatic and successful leaders of nations and empires have been very bad...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Vaeira

The comparison of the complaint of Moshe to God about His lack of compassion regarding the enslaved and persecuted Jews in Egypt, to the more sanguine acceptance of God’s will by the patriarchs of Israel of an earlier generation is somewhat puzzling. Moshe’s complaint is really a cry of anguish and pain over the desperate situation of the Jews in Egyptian bondage rather than a statement of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HATERS AND PROBLEMS

Hate is a very powerful emotion. It generates skewed vision, violent behavior, and in historical terms, national and personal disasters. There are many causes for hatred. Jealousy, indoctrination, feelings of revenge and suspicions (many times completely unfounded)are just a few. But the most lethal forms of hatred that usually unleash killing and mayhem are those that are religiously or...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHEMOT

It should be obvious to all that Moshe is a very unlikely choice to head the Jewish people, to redeem them from Egyptian bondage, and to bring the Torah down from Heaven to the Jewish people and eventually to all of humankind. It is also clear that Moshe would not be the likely one to guide them through the vicissitudes of war, thirst and forty years sojourn in the desert of Sinai. Rambam...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ON BEING CURRENTLY RELEVANT

The “hot-button” topics in our ever-changing society rarely have much staying power. They seem somehow to fizzle out of their own accord, having made a lot of noise, spawning countless op-ed pontifications but rarely leading to substantive change or benefit in our lives and societies. The main issue facing world Jewry is its shrinking population due to the ravages of assimilation and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYECHI

The conclusion of the book of Bereshith reaches its climax this week with the recording for us of the death of our father Yaakov and of Yosef. The era of the founders of our people ended in relative tranquility and contentment, albeit on foreign soil. It will be a long and arduous journey for the descendants of Yaakov to return home to the Land of Israel. A dark and forbidding era is about...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KEEPING OUR DISTANCE

It seems fairly obvious to me that American Jewry should stay out of Israeli politics and that Israeli politicians should stay out of the affairs of American Jewry. However, our politicians somehow feel impelled to visit America as often as they can and to act or pontificate on all sorts of matters over which they have little knowledge or deep understanding. We should agree in advance that...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH

The opening verses of this week's Torah reading are among the most dramatic and challenging in the entire Torah. Two great, powerful personalities in the house of the children of Yaakov, Yehudah and Yosef, engage in a clash and debate of epic proportions, regarding the release of their brother Binyamin. At first glance it seems obvious that Yosef has the upper hand in his struggle. After...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MIKETZ

The dreamer is about to be saved by dreams, albeit not the ones that he dreamt but rather those of an unlikely stranger – the Pharaoh of Egypt himself. But dreams are dreams and often times they do not coincide with human reality. What makes Yosef so extraordinary in the eyes of Pharaoh was his ability to, so to speak, dream along with Pharaoh, interpret his dreams and translate them into...

Posted in:
by
Faigie Gilbert

CHANUKA TODAY

The Maccabees of old lived in a very fortuitous time. Had they lived today they would be accused of extrajudicial executions of the poor Syrian Greeks who, after all, were only trying to kill them and improve their civilization. At least that is certainly how the Foreign Minister of Sweden would have seen the matter. But since Sweden at that time was inhabited by pagan tribes and there was no...

Posted in:
by
Rabbi Berel Wein