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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

KI TAVO

The warnings to the Jewish people as contained in this week’s Torah readings are awesome (how I despise that word as currently used in popular vernacular!) in their ferocity and cruelty. Unfortunately, they are also unerringly truthful and accurate. Everything in its minutest detail did befall us, not only over the long millennia of our existence as a people but as an accurate description of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

AGING

One of the more sobering and poignant prayers in this season of reflection, is the one that states: “Do not throw us away in our time of old age; as our physical strength wanes, do not forsake us.” That stark prayer pretty much dispels the notion of the “golden years.” Humans are created and born into toil and challenges and these do not diminish – in fact they usually are exacerbated...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TEITZEI

The brutality of war, which of course is unavoidable since the immediate purpose of war is to kill as many of one's adversaries as possible, transforms the moral compass and the logical judgment of soldiers. The Torah posits a case of a Jewish soldier taking and assaulting a non-Jewish woman captive. It then forces that soldier into a marriage with the woman that will undoubtedly have...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

IDEOLOGY AND HUMANENESS

I think that history, both ancient and recent, proves that ideologies by their nature are rigid, oftentimes cruel, even murderous and dangerous. Devotion to a cause, no matter how noble by its very nature, places human beings in a secondary and often expendable position. When the cause is so noble and the venture so necessary and the perceived good of the fulfillment of the ideology are so...

Posted in:
Ethics
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

We are all in favor of equality and justice. The goal of all democratic societies is to have, as far as humanly possible, an incorruptible and fair judicial system. Since, however, judges are only human – no matter how knowledgeable and altruistic they may be, the perfect judicial system has never yet been achieved. Nevertheless, in order to make society livable, we are bidden to obey the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE BROADCASTER

Those of you who regularly read my writings, beloved as you are and may be, know that I like to look at the sport of baseball as a metaphor for life. The simplicity, beauty and quirky unexpectedness and uncertainties of the game accurately mirror the events in one’s personal and national life. Therefore, when I recently read an article about a revered baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully, I felt...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence that certain truths are self-evident. His inspiration for this idea came from our great teacher Moshe who points out clearly in this week's reading that one's choices in life are clearly evident. King Solomon in Kohelet points out that the Lord created human beings and imbued them with simple righteousness, but that they...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EKEV

The Torah reading of this week continues the long, final oration of Moshe to the Jewish people, as he prepares for his own mortal demise. It is important to note that throughout the words of Moshe here in the final book of the Chumash, there is, mixed together, the requirement of the memory of the past – the distant and immediate past – with the vision of the future, again the far future and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

THE PICTURE

A number of months ago my wife and I paid a visit to friends of ours who just completed building their home near our neighborhood. I had known them from my years as being a rabbi in Miami Beach a half-century ago. During that time as a rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation, I taught Talmud daily to the young men of the eleventh grade of the local yeshiva high school. I did so on a voluntary basis...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN

The Torah reading of this week contains within it portions that we read in the synagogue on the morning of Tisha B’Av. With unerring accuracy the story of the Jewish people is predicted in full detail. The consequences of national sin and of an immoral society are outlined – the destruction of the Temples, the loss of national sovereignty, exile, persecution and a history of horror and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein