Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

BITTER LESSONS

The past has many bitter lessons for the present. Many times the lessons themselves unfortunately provide no answer to current dilemmas since they provided no clear answer to the past dilemmas either. That is what makes these types of historical lessons such bitter ones. It presents the problem in clear perspective but denies us any clear solution to it. One hundred years ago at the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EIH

The use of the verb re’eih by the Torah to begin this week's Torah reading indicates that the seemingly complicated and abstract choices in life regarding faith and doubt, good and evil, right and wrong and life and death are really simple ones. The word re’eih denotes something that can be seen with the naked eye and needs no great thought or judgment to identify it. The Torah implies...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE

The Jewish nation is described in the Torah as being a stiff- necked people. In the context of that particular Torah discussion this description of the people of Israel is not necessarily a complimentary one. It refers to the stubbornness of the generation of the desert of Sinai and their rebellious nature in constantly refusing to abide by God’s will and to accept Moshe’s authority and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

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