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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NASSO

The longest parsha of the Torah is the parsha of Nasso, which we read publicly this Shabat. A great part of its length is due to the repetition of the offerings and gifts of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel at the dedication of the Mishkan. Since each one of the twelve leaders brought the identical offering to the occasion and, furthermore, since the Torah itself at the conclusion of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

THE BOOK OF RUTH

Among the customs that accompany the holiday of Shavuot, the public reading of the book of Ruth is personally one of my favorites. The beauty and simplicity of language, the conciseness and majesty of its narrative and the great moral lessons that are embedded in its four short chapters have always fascinated me. There is much that we and our current society can learn and apply from the ideas...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR

The book of Bamidbar is perhaps one of the saddest, so to speak, of all of the Holy Scriptures. Whereas the book of Shemot, which records for us the sin of the Golden Calf also gives us pause, it concludes with the final construction of the Mishkan and God’s Presence, so to speak, resting within the encampment of Israel. But the book of Bamidbar, which begins on a high note of numerical...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

B’CHUKOTAI

The book of Vayikra opened on a very high and positive note. Moshe is the recipient of Divine revelation and serves as the High priest of the Mishkan during its first week of its dedication. His brother Aharon is appointed as the permanent High Priest and the children and the descendants of Aharon remain the special family of kohanim throughout the ages of Jewish history. After the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

B'HAR

One of the overriding themes that is reflected in this week’s parsha is the impermanence of all human ownership, reflected in its accompanying agreements and contracts. The Torah specifically states that property in the Land of Israel cannot be sold in perpetuity. The laws of shemitta and yovel preclude permanent sales of land, and as far as houses in walled cities are concerned the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MY UNSEEN MINYAN

Last week for various reasons, none of which were connected to my piety, I arrived at the synagogue for the morning prayers service very early – so early in fact that I was the one who unlocked the gates of the synagogue for entry. As I sat there alone in the synagogue waiting for the rest of our faithful to arrive, I looked around the synagogue room. In my mind’s eye I was no longer alone...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT IS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT

The tendency to always blame someone else for one’s own shortcomings is a well-known and well-practiced human trait. In our current society, where this trait has been taken to new heights of absurdity, the criminal is never guilty. Rather, it is the societal conditions that exist that force the criminal to behave as he or she does that is to blame. It is the abused and not the abuser that is...

Posted in:
Jewish Thought
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EMOR

We can all agree that the priestly family of Aharon has always had a special rank and position within the Jewish people. Having been chosen to represent God to the Jewish people and the Jewish people to God, so to speak, they had a decisive role of influence within Jewish life. Because of this the Torah held them to a higher standard of pedigree and behavior than the rest of the Jewish people. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ACHREI - KEDOSHIM

The direct message of these two parshiyot is clear: In order to live a meaningful life that contains within it the necessary elements of spiritual sanctity one must limit one’s desires and physical behavior patterns. The Torah does not award accolades for great intellectual or social achievements if they are unfortunately accompanied by uninhibited physical dissolute behavior. It is not only...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ISRAEL AT SIXTY-FOUR

This week will mark the sixty fourth anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. That fact by itself represents a monumental achievement. There were great people in the Jewish world who were skeptical of the entire enterprise. There were those who were convinced that the state somehow would not survive for more than fifteen years let alone fifty. Ringed by violent enemies,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein