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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

REQUIEM FOR A MOVEMENT

In an article that appeared two months ago in the Jewish Review of Books, Daniel Gordis wrote about the sorry state of the Conservative movement in the current American Jewish scene. The Pew Report documented, with a great body of anecdotal evidence, the demise of this once most numerous and powerful movement. Gordis himself is the scion of a distinguished rabbinical family that exercised...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MISHPATIM

The Torah reading of this week deals with the difficulties and pettiness of human life. I find this to be extraordinary since only last week the Torah dealt with the exalted principles and values system of holiness as represented by the Ten Commandments. It seems to be a letdown to have to speak about oxen goring and people fighting, enslaving and damaging one another when we were apparently...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

YITRO

It is well known that there is a difference of opinion as to whether Yitro’s arrival in the camp of Israel in the desert occurred before or after the revelation and granting of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Even if we say that Yitro arrived before the momentous event of Mount Sinai and that the Torah is recording events in a chronological manner, it still is difficult for us to understand. Why...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBI ISAAC HALEVI HERZOG

At the end of last month I attended an all day conference here in Jerusalem commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Rabbi Isaac Herzog’s seminal Ph.D. thesis that he submitted to the University of London. The thesis was a scientific, historical and halachic review of the source of the ancient dye used to produce techelet colored wool for the priestly garments and for the tzitzit/fringes...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE INEQUALITY OF IT ALL

The current spate of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the watchful eye and undue pressure of the United States, though shrouded in silence and mystery, apparently is not really going anywhere soon. As is usual in the negotiation pattern of the past twenty years, Israel gives tangible assets away to the Palestinians – land, weapons, financial aid and the release...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BESHALACH

The centerpiece of this week's parsha is naturally the great song of Moses and of the Jewish people after their moment of deliverance from Pharaoh and the flooding sea. This song of Moses and of Israel is repeated daily throughout the centuries of Jewish life in our morning prayer service. The exultation of the moment is still retained and felt many generations later in the unmatched prose...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE PRIVILEGES OF AGE

Advancing years certainly have their effect. Physically it becomes more difficult to do the things that once one was able to easily accomplish. Light bulbs now refuse to be changed, items on the floor resist efforts to be picked up, print becomes smaller and less distinct and difficult senior moments of memory become routine. King Solomon in Kohelet lists the infirmities of advancing age in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BO

In this week's parsha the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt reaches one of its most climactic moments. Pharaoh finally succumbs to the pressures of the plagues and to the demands of Moshe and of the God of Israel. The last three plagues that are discussed in detail in this week's parsha are those of the locusts, darkness and the slaying of the firstborn. These plagues represent not only...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEREMIAH JOURNALISM

I recently read an article published in Commentary magazine about what was dubbed “Jeremiah journalism.” Though I feel that this title and description was eminently unfair to one of the great prophets of Israel, it has become accepted in the general world. Jeremiah foretold the coming destruction of the First Temple and of the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, and somehow he has become the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAEIRA

The Lord, so to speak, bemoans to Moshe the lack of faith exhibited by him and the Jewish people during the moments of crisis in their encounter with Pharaoh and their Egyptian taskmasters. God points out that the previous generations of the founders of the Jewish people never wavered in their faith and belief that God's covenant would be fulfilled, no matter how harsh the circumstances of their...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein