Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

THE NEW YEAR

The year 5773 is now upon us. As with every new year, every new beginning, every new infant born and project initiated, we pin great hopes and expectations upon the new arrival. We hope and pray for a new year of tranquility and peace, success and health and for our emotional and spiritual growth. Most of us have had many such hopes in the past and truth be said not all of the new years met our...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYELECH/SHUVA

The parsha of Vayelech is the parsha that contains the smallest number of verses – only thirty – of any other parsha in the Torah. It also is the parsha that usually coincides with Shabat Shuva, the holy Shabat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The words of the parsha are part of the last testament of Moshe uttered on the day of his passing from this earth. As is his wont, Moshe...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SELICHOT

This is the week that selichot – the penitential prayers that are added to the weekday morning prayer service – are recited in the synagogue according to Ashkenazic custom. Sephardic Jews have been reciting selichot in their morning prayer services since the start of the month of Elul. There are different customs even within these two main groupings of Jews as to which particular penitential...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM

The title of this week’s parsha says everything that needs to be said about the Jewish story, nation and people. After forty years of war, rebellion, strife, great accomplishment, Divine revelation, miracles, defeats, Torah study, and personal and national tragedies and heartbreak, Moshe remarks, almost incredulously, that atem nitzavim – you are erect and still standing proud and mighty....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CARDIAC REHAB

I have been attending and participating in a cardiac rehab exercise program for the past fifteen months. I attend twice a week and spend an hour each time doing rather vigorous exercise under the watchful eyes of those in charge of the program. Even though I was only originally approved to the program for one year I have continued on my own past the mandatory time. All of my fellow...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TAVO

The explicit descriptions of the disasters, personal and national, that make up a large potion of this week’s parsha raise certain issues. Why do Moshe and the Torah paint such a harsh and unforgiving picture of the Jewish future before the people? And if we expect people to glory in their Jewishness, is this the way to sell the product, so to speak? We all support the concept of truth in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE UNIVERSAL JEW

The modern liberal Jew has redefined Judaism according to his or her wants and fashion. He or she has created a religion that has no fixed laws, that is built on vacuous slogans (see tikun olam), that embraces moral relativity and abhors tribal loyalties and defines Judaism in purely currently acceptable universalistic terms. This type of Judaism has removed all the peculiarities and uniqueness...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TEITZEI

The idea of the necessity of a fence on one’s roof and exposed staircases and high landings is a very logical and realistic one. The Torah itself advances this simple reasoning by stating that otherwise one may fall from that exposed area with painful if not tragic consequences. However halacha and practicality indicate that not everyone is obligated in this mitzvah and that there are physical...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ELUL

The sound of the shofar reverberated in our synagogue this week as the month of Elul began. It signaled the approach of the Days of Awe and its attendant holidays only a few short weeks from now. In previous generations, devoid as they were from today’s omnipresent technological wonders and obsessive necessity for instant communication with everybody and anybody, Elul took on a somber and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

This week’s parsha emphasizes, albeit in an indirect fashion, the litigious nature of human society and the requirement for the appointment of judges to decide disputes and for police to enforce those decisions. A perfect world needs no judges or courts, police or bailiffs. Our very imperfect world cannot reasonably hope to function and exist in their absence. Law and order are the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein