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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

HAAZINU

In reality, the first word of this week's prophetic song/parsha in encompasses the entire message of this Torah portion. Haazinu connotes paying attention, concentrating, listening attentively and absorbing words and messages that are being spoken. As one's hearing acumen begins to lessen and wane with the passage of time, background noise becomes a problem when attempting to hear what someone...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GIFTS

Judaism views life itself as the ultimate gift granted to us by Heaven. As such, it takes the highest prominence and priority. However, most humans, when not in situations of danger and emergency, hardly view their lives in such a perspective. Instead of seeing it as a gift, most humans simply see it as a given state of existence to which they are somehow entitled. Because of this view, life...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYELECH – SHUVA

The name of this week's Torah reading is taken from the first word of the parsha itself – vayelech. This word signifies movement, the action of going somewhere. The subject of this verb is a great teacher and leader Moshe. According to Jewish tradition and the words of the great commentators to the Torah, this parsha was recorded for us by Moshe on the last day of his presence on earth. It...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE NEW YEAR

As part of our human nature, we begin a new year with great optimism and hope, though experience has taught us that there is no year that does not contain its share of problems. And some of the challenges that we may face, the very severe ones, are not given to easy solutions. Nevertheless, that in no way dampens our hopes for a year of goodness, success, health and accomplishment. We...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

SELICHOT

The custom of reciting special penitential prayers before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is an ancient one. It certainly dates back to the time of the Geonim in Babylonia, if not even earlier. The custom of the Sefaradim is to recite these prayers beginning with the entire month of Elul until Yom Kippur. The custom of the Ashkenazin is to begin the recitation of these prayers the week before Rosh...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM

One of the more obvious lessons taught to us by the book of Dvarim is the eternity and immutability of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. There are all sorts of difficulties and tragedies forecast for the Jewish people from the time of Moshe forward. And, unfortunately, these sad events have all come to pass. Nevertheless, nowhere is it indicated that the covenant between God...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

KI TAVO

The next few parshiyot of the Torah, leading up to the final uplifting and glorious conclusion, portray for us a somber picture of the experiences that the Jewish people will undergo in their march through history. The descriptions of the horrors that will overtake the Jewish people, when their national entity is destroyed and they embark on a long and painful exile of millennia, are graphic,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE SUNSHINE PATRIOTS

The Jewish communities and individual Jews living in the Diaspora, in the United States and the Western world particularly are currently faced with having to make a difficult and almost fateful decision regarding the signing of an admittedly bad deal with Iran. As t his would pave the way for that nation to become a nuclear power in the very foreseeable future, does continued Jewish opposition...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TEITZEI

The saga of the captive woman described in this week's Torah reading has always remained a somewhat puzzling subject. The Talmud itself reacts to the realities of war – those young male soldiers and vulnerable female captives – by stating that the Torah is reacting to the natural base desires of men in times of stress and danger. So to speak, the entire matter is a concession to evil...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GRATITUDE

The month of Elul brings forth many different emotions, thoughts and insights. It is, after all, meant to be a month of introspection and serious self-analysis. And, one of the values that this month is meant to evoke in our minds and thoughts is that of gratitude. The rabbis of the Talmud saw gratitude as being one of the most basic values of Judaism. Since nothing in life is perfect and we...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein