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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH

The Torah reading for this week is a fitting conclusion to the year that is about to depart from us. At the end of his long life and after decades of service to the Jewish people, Moshe renews the covenant between God and the people of Israel. He makes clear to the new generation of Jews standing before him, a generation that was not part of the experience of Egypt, nor present at the moment of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TAVO

In this week’s parsha, all of Jewish history is reflected in the two relatively short scenarios that the Torah describes for us. There is the opening section of the parsha – the promise that the Jewish people will come into the Land of Israel, settle there, develop the country, build the Temple and express their gratitude to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon them. They will...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BACK TO SCHOOL

This week marks the return of millions of our children to the regular routine of school. The yeshivot and seminaries of this and other countries have also begun their classroom schedules and study patterns. I think that even though we can all agree that school today is a very necessary part of our society, nevertheless we are also all aware that school contains a downside as well. Not all...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TETZEI

In this week’s parsha, the Torah portrays for us an accurate and unforgiving view of war and its personal consequences. No one who participates in a war escapes unscathed. The ones who are killed or wounded have suffered physically, but even those who have survived the battle whole are still affected. That is the supremely important, albeit sublimina,l message of the beginning of this...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

Law and order are the hallmarks of a functioning democratic society. The concept that one can receive fair redress for damages and hurts through an equitable system of established justice is central to the concept of a free society that provides individual rights to its citizens. However, dictatorships also provide law and order for those who live under their rule - a little too much law and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

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