Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

THE PICTURE

A number of months ago my wife and I paid a visit to friends of ours who just completed building their home near our neighborhood. I had known them from my years as being a rabbi in Miami Beach a half-century ago. During that time as a rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation, I taught Talmud daily to the young men of the eleventh grade of the local yeshiva high school. I did so on a voluntary basis...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN

The Torah reading of this week contains within it portions that we read in the synagogue on the morning of Tisha B’Av. With unerring accuracy the story of the Jewish people is predicted in full detail. The consequences of national sin and of an immoral society are outlined – the destruction of the Temples, the loss of national sovereignty, exile, persecution and a history of horror and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE OLYMPICS

The Olympic Games currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are allegedly supposed to be all about sports, fair play and world camaraderie. However, underlying all of the hoopla, spin and fanfare, is the knowledge deep within all of us, that the games are all about money – lots of money for the athletes, promoters, cities involved and the pompous officials who rule the sporting games. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TISHA B’AV

The Talmud traced the causes for the destruction of the First and Second temples to the spiritual failings and sins of the Jewish people. As those assessments are undoubtedly correct, they are observed in the popular view of the events to be the sole and only causes for these national tragedies. However, it should be obvious to all that failed policies, false assessments of the military and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM

No matter how accurately facts are presented, the picture that they impart is incomplete if the element of perspective and background is not also present. The Torah reading of last week concluded the narrative of the creation of the Jewish people and of their special role in human history and civilization. This week we begin to study the final book of the Torah of Moshe. This is the book of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MAASEI

The Torah reading of this week marks not only the conclusion of the book of Bamidbar but also of the narrative portion which tells of the formation of the Jewish people. It has truly been a long journey from the Garden of Eden, from original man to the banks of the Jordan River. It tells of the development of a special people whose influence and contribution to the world will be in far greater...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

I DON’T KNOW

My dear friend and esteemed member of our congregation, Professor Robert Aumann, told me a thoroughly wonderful story with a deep moral message. He had gone to visit the late, great Rabbi Gustman in the hospital where the rabbi was being treated for a sore on his foot. His physician was the famed Dr. Heiman, an exceptional person in his own right. The doctor came into the room and told Rabbi...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HARD CHOICES

Life consists of a constant series of hard choices that one is forced to make - and this is true of nations as well as of individuals. And, most of the problems of life are caused by the fact that these choices are almost never win – win situations but are rather choices where both are bad options. The Talmud ruefully advises us to choose the least bad alternative available when we are forced...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT

Throughout the entire Torah it seems clear that the Jewish people were to maintain the system of separate tribes with separate leaders. At first glance, it seems that this system of separate tribes would always guarantee a strong element of disunity within the Jewish people. Would it not have been better to discard the original tribal system of the house of Jacob and build instead a more unified...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBINIC RESPONSIBILITY

Since the myth of rabbinic infallibility has become entrenched, exaggerated and untrue as it may be, it has unwittingly caused many other dire consequences. Since rabbis are somehow not able to discern the future and to be aware of the true motives and behavior patterns of those congregants and strangers who avail themselves of rabbinic services, rabbis are held accountable for the behavior of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein