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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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

VAYERA

It will come as a surprise to no one that the Torah, and Judaism generally, apparently values human life above all else. Rare are the cases to be found in the Jewish story and in halacha where human life is not the primary value that trumps all other behavior and ideals. The story of the akeida – of Abraham offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Almighty and at the last moment being...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

אמונה וספק

חכמי ישראל בכל הדורות, מהתלמוד והלאה, תמיד האמינו שהסיפורים על האבות, אברהם, יצחק ויעקב, ועל האמהות, שרה, רבקה, רחל ולאה, אינם רק היסטוריה אלא גם אבני דרך וסימנים לעתידו של העם היהודי. למעשה, אנחנו ספוגים ב-DNA...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FAITH AND DOUBT

The rabbis of the ages from the Talmud on have always maintained that the stories of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and our mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel are not only past history but are guideposts and predictions regarding the future of the Jewish people as well. Thus, in effect, we are imbued with the spiritual DNA of our ancestors and that DNA influences our attitudes and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

לך לך

כושר ההתאוששות – העמידה בניסיון מדוע אברהם מיוחד כל כך? התורה לא מעניקה לו את התארים המחמיאים שהיא מרעיפה על נוח בתחילת הפרשה של השבוע שעבר. הנכונות שלו למות בשם אמונתו באל אחד במבחן הכבשן באור כשדים אפילו לא...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA

Why is Avraham so special? The Torah does not grant him the complimentary adjectives that it lavished upon Noach at the beginning of last week’s parsha. His willingness to die on behalf of his belief in one God at the test of the furnace of Ur Casdim is not even mentioned in the Torah text. It was only inferred by the rabbis from tradition and a reference to one word – Ur – in the text...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FLOODS AND ARKS

The Torah’s recitation of the events of the great flood and of Noach’s ark is well known to all of us, no matter our position on the religious spectrum of Jewish life. In reviewing human history since that time, it seems pretty accurate that we are always somehow perched on the precipice of a great cataclysmic event of horrendous consequences, whether man made, natural, or of climatic...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOACH

The usual take on Noach seems to be that even though he was himself a righteous individual he really is not to be overly commended since he was unable – some say even unwilling – to save his generation from the cataclysm of the flood. Since the opinions of the rabbis and the sages of Israel over all of the ages is pretty much divided on how to deal with Noach – especially vis a vis...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BERESHITH

The Midrash teaches us that when God, so to speak, consulted in heaven as to whether or not to create humans, four representatives presented their views to the Almighty. By the way, this Midrash is a very instructive way to begin to understand the role of Midrash generally in rabbinic writing. The rabbis always wish to express deep philosophic ideas, conundrums and contradictions that we...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SIMCHAT TORAH – V’ZOT HABRACHA

The completion of any significant portion of Torah learning is always an occasion for Jewish celebration. Any siyum (a completion of a tractate of Talmud or Mishna) is usually accompanied by a feast to help commemorate the happy event. There is a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at having seen a difficult intellectual and time consuming task to its successful...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein