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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAETCHANAN – NACHAMU

Moshe’s final heartfelt appeal to the merciful God of Israel is somehow refused and of no avail. He will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. One can only feel the bitter disappointment and frustration that he must have experienced at this response. Nevertheless, he continues in his role as teacher and leader of Israel even until his final day. The balance of this book of Dvarim is...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Dvarim –Chazon

The Torah reading of this Shabbat and the attendant Haftorah from the book of Isaiah always precedes the week of the fast day of the ninth of Av. It is as though our teacher Moshe, a millennium before the destruction of the First Temple, already envisioned the disaster that would befall the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. This is also true regarding the words of the prophet Isaiah who,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DISASTER AND REBIRTH

The remarkable lesson of the Jewish commemoration of the destruction of our Temples many centuries ago is not only that this commemoration continues to pain us but that, ironically, it almost unexpectedly provides us with hope and fortitude for a brighter future. This fact is emphasized to us in the statement of the Talmud that the time of the Messiah began on the day that the Temples were...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

HOT SUMMERS

This summer in Israel appears to be an especially hot one. Of course, the average person is unable to remember past summers, as to what the weather actually was and therefore all comparisons are very subjective. However our only weather bureau has statistics that trace weather patterns over the past century and therefore their comparisons contain some merit. It appears that the weather here,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT – MAASEI

The Jewish people have always been a traveling nation. It is almost as if wandering has become our second nature, built into the DNA of our society and history. The Torah lists for us over forty way stations and oases that the Jewish people visited during their trek in the desert from Egypt to the outskirts of the Land of Israel. Rashi, subtly and almost ironically, comments that the Lord...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ON BEING A SKEPTIC

One of the great challenges in life is retaining belief and optimism regarding humans when one is, in one's heart of hearts, a confirmed skeptic. This challenge is corroborated for us by King Solomon, considered the wisest of all humans, in his monumental work, the book of Kohelet. There is a great deal of difference between realism and skepticism on one hand, and pessimism and depression on the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

There is zealotry that stems from hatred and jealousy. Though the motives are evil, this type of person is always able to cloak himself in a mantle of piety and public service. Unfortunately, this type of zealotry abounds in our religious world. Innocent people are pilloried, their words are distorted and they are slandered falsely and shamelessly, all in the name of higher religious causes. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBI MEIR ZLOTOWITZ zt”l

I am saddened beyond words by the passing of my beloved friend of many decades, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. He was a person of great and many talents: a Torah scholar, a creative entrepreneur, a gifted graphic artist, a superlative fundraiser and above all a man of great vision and daring enterprise. ArtScroll and the Mesorah Heritage Foundation were his gifts to the Jewish people and to his...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

Old adversaries return to plague the Jewish people. Bilaam, according to midrash, was one of the advisors to the Egyptian Pharaoh. He was the one that advocated the enslavement and eventual destruction of the Jews in Egypt. His plan was thwarted by the intervention of Heaven. Nevertheless, a substantial number of Jews were destroyed in the centuries of Egyptian bondage and slavery. One would...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

POLITICS AS RELIGION

One of the interesting societal phenomena of our time, both in Jewish and general society, is the elevation of political beliefs and ideas to the level of faith and religion itself. For most of American Jewry, values of the progressive Left have become an ersatz Judaism, treasured and followed and reflected in the pronouncements and stance of much of what passes today as Reform and Conservative...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein