Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

PINCHAS

The count of the Jewish people that appears in this week's Torah reading occurs after a long string of unpleasant incidents and tragedies in this final period of their sojourn in the Sinai desert. The simple understanding of this sequence of events and subsequent count of the people is that after so many had died in the desert; Moshe had to have an accurate number of the Jewish people before...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

There are people in the world who are simply too meddlesome for their own good. As King Solomon points out in Proverbs, they provoke passing dogs and engage in quarrels and controversies that really do not affect them directly. That is the main transgression of Balak as described in this week's Torah reading. The Jewish people are not threatening him or his nation. They just happened to be around...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A MESSY WORLD

It is fairly obvious to any unbiased observer of our current world scene that things are pretty messy right now. The economic markets are reeling from the unexpected decision of the British electorate to leave the European Union. The sectarian wars in the Moslem world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia continue without mercy, without abatement and with no exit strategy in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT IS HOT OUTSIDE

From a purely nonscientific, anecdotal and personal viewpoint, I think that this past June has been unusually hot, weather-wise. Of course, I really don't remember how hot the past Junes have been but it is only a natural tendency to think that past times were always more pleasant than the current ones. I imagine that the official Israeli meteorological bureau will soon inform us as to the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHUKAT

The entire book of Bamidbar is a litany of bad behavior, poor choices and a lack of faith that dooms that generation – a great generation that left Egypt triumphantly and miraculously – to death in the desert of Sinai. But perhaps the most tragic event on a human and personal level is contained in this week's Torah reading when the fate of Moshe is sealed. He will not be allowed to enter...

Posted in:
Bible/ Tanach
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KORACH

Apparently there were influential sections of the Jewish people that found it difficult to have a proper relationship with their leader Moshe. The minimalist Jews – the eiruv rav - couldnot get enough of Moshe. They constantly needed him and his presence and when they felt that he was absent, and perhaps would not return, they substituted a golden calf in his stead. This week we read of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CAUSE AND EFFECT

An article entitled: “What’s wrong with Conservative Judaism?” appeared in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Report magazine. This article was authored by Myron M. Fenster, the Rabbi Emeritus of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn, New York, a leading Conservative congregation. As the title of the article indicates, the movement is in trouble due to a dramatic decrease in its number of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHLACH

To a great extent the Jewish people have always had an easier time dealing with the study and observance of Torah than with the primacy of the Land of Israel in Jewish life and thought. For various reasons, throughout our history we have always had difficulty dealing with the reality of being an independent, self-governing national entity living within the borders of the country that the Lord...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBI CHAIM ZELIG FASMAN

My beloved friend and study partner from my yeshiva days in Chicago, Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman, passed away recently. I was really brought up very short and greatly distressed at learning of his passing. Even though seventy years and the space of great continents separated us, one never forgets or is really distant from one’s learning partner – we studied together on a daily basis for nine...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHALOTCHA

Somehow, things start to go very wrong for Moshe and the Jewish people regarding their sojourn in the desert of Sinai, on their way to the Promised Land of Israel. The defection of Yitro, though for honorable and seemingly noble reasons, weakens the resolution of the rest of Israel to somehow enter and conquer their God-given homeland. The rabbis warned us that wise people and leaders should...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein