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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

HAAZINU

Haazinu is a poem with definite stanzas. It is one of the few places in the Torah where Jewish law dictates where the stops in the Torah reading should take place. This is done in order to retain the integrity of the poetic form of the reading. Aside from the aesthetic value of poetry itself, the Torah wishes to emphasize to us that there is a rhythm, order and cadence in life that influences us...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYELECH

Moshe’s fixation with the covenant between God and Israel, so evident in the Torah readings of the past two weeks, continues apace this week. Only now there is a note of desperation in Moshe’s words and tone. He bluntly states that he knows that after his death the Jewish people will shirk the obligations of the covenant and fall prey to worshiping false gods and non-Jewish values. No...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A NEW BEGINNING

This season of the year always signals the start of a new beginning. In its most limited sense, this new beginning is in terms of the Jewish calendar year. However, all of us sense that the new beginning is much more than just purchasing a new calendar. We desperately seek a truly fresh start, an opportunity to discard past errors and their consequences and to move from the sometimes darkness of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM

In emphasizing once again the eternal validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people, Moshe addresses his words to the entire nation. All classes of society are included in the covenant – the heads of the people, the judges, the wealthy and powerful, the poor, menial and manual laborer, those that chop the wood and draw the water. No one is excluded from the terms of the covenant and no...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ROSH HASHANAH

The past year has passed rather quickly. As one thankfully becomes older, time seems to start racing by. Maybe that is part of what Einstein meant when he declared that time is relative. It certainly is relative to each individual person and to each differing circumstance and experience in life. There are long days and shorter ones depending on the occurrences in that twenty-four hour period of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SEEING THE FUTURE

I have currently traveled to the United States on personal family matters. I have as of now not engaged in any public appearances and except for my daily, early forays to the synagogue for prayer services, I certainly intended to maintain a low profile while being here. However, a number of unexpected happy events have drawn me out of my intended private protective shell. During my years as a...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

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