Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAEIRA

As the narrative of the redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage unfolds, I am continually struck by the apparently gradual process that is described for us in the Torah. What does all of the detail associated with each of the plagues visited upon Egypt come to teach us? And would not one great plague alone have sufficed? After all, in the past century we witnessed how two bombs,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEDFELLOWS

A recent issue of a local newspaper here in Israel had on its front page a photograph of the Pope of Rome together with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Abbas, at the ceremony of the dedication of the Palestinian Embassy at the Vatican and its recognition as a state by the Holy See. Now the cynics may be forgiven for captioning that picture as one non-state establishing...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

OPTIMISM

It seems that the intrinsic nature of human beings is to be optimistic about the future and about life generally. This is a very strange phenomenon since it flies in the face of all of human experience and seeming reality. We are all aware that the rule, that whatever can go wrong will eventually go wrong, has had very few exceptions in human history. Therefore, foreign policy or military...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHMOT

There are crises that develop slowly and gradually while there are others that are sudden, surprising and unexpected. We see that in Jewish history both types of difficulties abound. The fall of the northern kingdom of Israel – that of the ten tribes – was sudden and unexpected. Only a short time before the northern kingdom of Israel had been one of the major military powers in the area. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

SCANDALS

The history of power and influence is always littered with personal scandals. This is evident in all of the words of the great prophets of Israel regarding the rulers and officers of their times. Unfortunately, over the long history of human civilization and of Jewish history as well, religious leaders who profess to represent superior morals and decency many times are tarnished as well by...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYECHI

The traditional rabbinic approach as to why this portion of the Torah is the titled “vayechi Yaakov” even though the subject matter of this Torah portion concerns itself with the death of Yaakov is that as long as his descendants – the Jewish people – are alive and functioning, then Yaakov is still considered to be alive. The message here is one of immortality and continuity, family...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE ENDING REVEALS ALL

One of the verses of our prayers on the eve of the Sabbath states that the end of the action reveals the original thought in the matter. Naturally the prayer refers to God and the process of creation as it is revealed throughout the week and through the ages. The Jewish people have been struck by the adverse, and nevertheless collectively applied it to many situations in life. In many...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH

As the dramatic story of Joseph and his brothers comes to its climax in this week’s Torah reading, one is struck by the comparison between Judah and Joseph, the main antagonists in this final act of the biblical narrative. Joseph is the righteous one, the person who lives by dreams, the one who resists temptation and pays a dear price for so doing. The brothers did him wrong, very wrong....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MIKETZ

It is obvious from the biblical narrative of this week's Torah reading that the brothers of Yoseph were determined not to see his dreams of dominance and greatness fulfilled. Even when they stood before him and faced him directly, they did not recognize him. They were committed not to recognize him as the prince of Egypt. It is extremely difficult to change the perspective and previous held...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHANUKAH

There probably is no other holiday on the Jewish calendar that has had as much material written about it than the Chanukah festival. There are many causes and reasons for this seeming anomaly of a relatively minor rabbinic holiday receiving so much attention. The fact that by the nature of the calendar it falls in the month of December, and especially this year when it actually coincides with the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert