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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYISHLACH

Our father Yaakov sends emissaries to meet his brother Eisav and attempst to mollify him and to head off a possibly violent and even fatal confrontation. There are differing opinions in Midrash and the commentaries whether these emissaries were angels or humans. In any event it appears from the parsha that they were unsuccessful in their mission and were unable to deflect Eisav and his four...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ויצא

הצלחת יעקב אין ספק שהסיפור של יעקב אבינו, כפי שהוא מתואר בפרשת השבוע, הוא הסנונית הראשונה בסיפורי ההיסטוריה היהודית שנפרשת על פני מאות שנים של גולה ותפוצה. יעקב מגיע נרדף וחסר כול - נמלט משנאתו של עשיו ומזעם חרבו....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYETZE

The story of our father Yaakov, as portrayed in this week's parsha, is certainly the harbinger of all of the Jewish story in the long centuries of our exile and dispersion. Yaakov arrives penniless and persecuted - a survivor from the ravages of the enmity and sword of Eisav. He is subjected to further humiliation and discrimination in the house of his erstwhile father-in-law and employer...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

The Torah reading tells us of the birth of twin sons to Yitzchak and Rivka. The elder son, Eisav, comes forth fully formed, ruddy and strong. The younger twin is named Yaakov. The Torah tells us that he is holding on to Eisav’s heel. In effect he is holding Eisav back from accomplishing his desires. The Hebrew word for heel – aikev – is embedded into the name of Yaakov. It is as...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOLDOT

The Torah emphasizes to us the importance of the continuity of generations in this week’s parsha. The name alone by which the parsha is called – “toldot” – generations, testifies to the stress that the Torah places on this vision in Jewish life. My wise old Talmud teacher said to his class: “Boys, if your grandparents and your grandchildren are both proud of you and your...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

יהדות ללא יהודים?

אחת התחזיות המדהימות שמופיעות בתורה בעניין העם היהודי היא זו שאומרת שמבחינה מספרית נהיה תמיד עם קטן. אין ספק שזה היה נכון בהיסטוריה הארוכה שלנו עד כה. בימי חורבן בית המקדש השני, מספר הסינים היה פי שניים ממספרנו. כמעט...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JUDAISM WITHOUT JEWS?

One of the more amazing predictions regarding the Jewish people that appears in the Torah is that numerically speaking we will always be a small nation. That certainly has been the case over our long history. At the time of the destruction of the Second Temple the Chinese were twice our numbers. Almost two millennia later the Chinese are approximately one hundred times our numbers. In...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

חיי שרה

רבקה כשרה מוות של הורה, בכל שלב בחיים ובכל גיל, הוא חוויה טרגית וטראומטית, אך דומני שהאבל אצל בן או בת הזוג שנשארים בחיים עמוק אפילו יותר מאשר אצל הילדים. הילדים מוצאים את הדרך להמשיך בחייהם. בתת-המודע שלהם הם לקחו...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH

The death of a parent at any stage of life and at any age is a tragic and traumatic experience. I find that the grief is more profound for the surviving spouse than even for the surviving children. Children somehow find a way to move on with their lives. They factored in the inevitability of the death of a parent into their subconscious and thus usually were and are able to deal with their...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BITTERSWEET

The lives of Abraham and Sarah, complete with problems, setbacks and yet great achievements, stands as a stark example for Jewish life and general human life as well. Miracles intervene for them but they never quite bring final and lasting security or solutions to the problems of life. The miraculous birth of Yitzchak to Sarah is almost eclipsed by his nearly being sacrificed on the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein