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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

SHMINI

This week’s Torah reading contains both narrative history and dogmatic Jewish halacha. It relates to us the tragic story of the deaths of the two older sons of Aharon, when they apparently willfully mishandled the obligatory incense offering in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. The Torah reading also details for us the list of animals, birds and fish that may be consumed by Jews in accordance with the...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PESACH THOUGHTS

We usually think of Purim as being the Jewish holiday of the year that represents the opposites of human existence. It is also thought of as being a time of wine and whatever else accompanies the consumption of that alcoholic beverage. But surprisingly enough Pesach also fits that template of opposites and wine consumption. We are all familiar with the rabbinic law that ordains the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TZAV – SHABBAT HAGADOL

This year, as is true in most years of the Jewish calendar, the Torah reading of Tzav coincides with the Shabbat preceding Pesach – Shabbat Hagadol. Since on a deep level of understanding there are really no coincidences in Torah matters, the connection between Tzav and Shabbat Hagaol should be explored and explained. The word “tzav” is one of a mandatory command. It does not present...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NO SERVICE

On my recent trip to America I encountered great difficulty with my mobile phone. It kept on telling me that it could not complete the calls I was attempting to make because there was “no service.” This happened at numerous locations throughout my American stay, frustrating me greatly. I was hooked up to a major American telecom provider and could not understand why I was encountering this...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIKRA

The Torah emphasizes in the opening words of this week’s Torah reading that God, so to speak, called out to Moshe to instruct him in the laws and strictures of sacrifices in the Temple service. What is the significance of “calling out” – which always implies doing so by name, such as by parents naming their child – instead of the usual verses beginning that God, so to speak, “spoke”...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SPRINGTIME

Those of us who are living in the northern hemisphere of our globe are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of springtime and the end of the winter weather woes. Here in Israel we had a fairly normal winter with a decent amount of rain and a few cold spells. In the main however it was an unremarkable winter, weather wise. Nevertheless, winter is winter and I for one am anxiously and excitedly...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYAKHEL – PEKUDEI

The Torah reading of the book of Shemot concludes this week with the reading of the total portion of Vayakhel and Pekudei. These two portions are a fitting conclusion to the long narrative describing the construction of the Taberncle/Mishkan. Every great project, whether physical or spiritual, is yet incomplete without an accounting being given as to the investment, effort and cost relating to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

I recently was on the tour of the Galilee region here in Israel. The tour stopped for a visit in the town of Rosh Pina. Because of cars parked on both sides of the street, the bus was unable to negotiate and brings us to the top of the hill where the walking tour would begin. Since I had visited Rosh Pina a number of times previously, I decided that I would remain on the bus instead of climbing...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TISA

One of the most important, albeit only subtly presented, messages in this week’s Torah reading is that of the enormous influence that current culture fads and beliefs have upon the society of its time. I do not believe that there is any other way for us to review the events of the creation and the worship of the Golden Calf by the Jewish people. Amazing in its brazenness and brainlessness,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PURIM

The Megillah of Esther itself tells us that the memory and commemoration of the days of Purim will continue until eternity and never disappear from Jewish life. Extraordinarily, the Talmud expands this statement to mean that even at the end of days when the other commandments of the Torah may no longer be necessary because of the exalted state of spirituality within the Jewish nation and mankind...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein