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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

LEAP YEAR

This year on the Jewish calendar, 5774, is a leap year. In terms of the Jewish calendar this means that it is a thirteen-month year instead of the usual twelve-month year. This anomaly is accomplished by repeating the month of Adar twice. In the secular calendar every fourth year is also called a leap year. That leap year is identified by having the month of February be twenty-nine days long...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TETZAVEH

The Torah busies itself in this week’s parsha to point out the necessity for an eternal light to always burn in God's tabernacle. The Talmud points out that the light was certainly not for God's benefit. The Lord is always beyond our physical needs and environment. The commentators to the Torah always searched for a deeper and more understandable meaning to this commandment. Many ideas have...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBIS AND SAVANTS

There was a long and critical article that appeared this past week in one of the Hebrew newspapers here in Israel concerning the role of rabbis in society. There is no question that the role of most rabbis in the United States is far different than what is currently the case in Israeli society. In the United States the rabbi is a far more personal figure. He is a teacher, speaker and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TERUMAH

The main moral thrust of this week's parsha is the challenge to take the mundane and ordinary and make of it something spiritual, holy and eternal. To our sorrow, we are well aware of how the supposedly holy can be made tawdry, cheap and negative. Thus the challenge of the opposite is truly a daunting one. Dealing with money, gold and silver, workers, artisans and the like usually inhibits...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

REQUIEM FOR A MOVEMENT

In an article that appeared two months ago in the Jewish Review of Books, Daniel Gordis wrote about the sorry state of the Conservative movement in the current American Jewish scene. The Pew Report documented, with a great body of anecdotal evidence, the demise of this once most numerous and powerful movement. Gordis himself is the scion of a distinguished rabbinical family that exercised...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MISHPATIM

The Torah reading of this week deals with the difficulties and pettiness of human life. I find this to be extraordinary since only last week the Torah dealt with the exalted principles and values system of holiness as represented by the Ten Commandments. It seems to be a letdown to have to speak about oxen goring and people fighting, enslaving and damaging one another when we were apparently...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

YITRO

It is well known that there is a difference of opinion as to whether Yitro’s arrival in the camp of Israel in the desert occurred before or after the revelation and granting of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Even if we say that Yitro arrived before the momentous event of Mount Sinai and that the Torah is recording events in a chronological manner, it still is difficult for us to understand. Why...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBI ISAAC HALEVI HERZOG

At the end of last month I attended an all day conference here in Jerusalem commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Rabbi Isaac Herzog’s seminal Ph.D. thesis that he submitted to the University of London. The thesis was a scientific, historical and halachic review of the source of the ancient dye used to produce techelet colored wool for the priestly garments and for the tzitzit/fringes...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE INEQUALITY OF IT ALL

The current spate of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the watchful eye and undue pressure of the United States, though shrouded in silence and mystery, apparently is not really going anywhere soon. As is usual in the negotiation pattern of the past twenty years, Israel gives tangible assets away to the Palestinians – land, weapons, financial aid and the release...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BESHALACH

The centerpiece of this week's parsha is naturally the great song of Moses and of the Jewish people after their moment of deliverance from Pharaoh and the flooding sea. This song of Moses and of Israel is repeated daily throughout the centuries of Jewish life in our morning prayer service. The exultation of the moment is still retained and felt many generations later in the unmatched prose...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein