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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

SHMINI

The temptations of power are great. When one achieves notoriety, success and exalted public service there is always a danger that hubris and unnecessary behavior will take over. This is true even regarding great, noble and holy people. The adage that power corrupts has remained one of the truisms of all of human behavior throughout the ages. When the Torah describes the death of the two sons...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TZAV

The parsha deals initially with the concept of an eternal flame or light that would continually be present on the holy altar in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. This is not the sole instance in the Torah where this concept of an eternal flame, fire or light is discussed. The great golden candelabra in the Mishkan/Tabernacle was also to have one light that was to be deemed an eternal light that was never...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

PURIM – II

The story of Purim takes place about 2500 years ago in the, long ago, almost forgotten, Persian Empire. Yet this ancient tale remains instructive to this very day. The details of the plot of the story, as recorded for us in the book of Esther, are well known to all. However, the implications and eternal lessons of those details and the overall story itself must be relearned in every...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIKRA

The Torah in this week’s parsha identifies human beings with the word nefesh. There is no exact translation of this word in English that captures the nuances associated with the word in its Hebrew form. The word certainly implies a much more spiritual, soulful, ethereal human being than the flesh and blood physical being that we usually associate with people. The Torah seems to imply that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PURIM

The Purim story is a collection of unlikely events and almost irrational decisions by all parties involved in this drama. There is ample evidence of the mercurial instability of Achashveirosh and of the diabolical wickedness of Haman. What is however the most perplexing, of all of the behavior of the major participants in the story, is that of Mordecai. What impels him to publicly disobey...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PEKUDEI

The end of the book of Shemot describes the culmination of the events of the exodus from Egypt, the revelation at Sinai and the construction of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. All of these events are certainly on the positive side of the historical ledger. On the other side of that historical ledger sheet that the book of Shemot represents there is the sin of the Golden Calf and the constant carping and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BETTER TIMES

One of the more memorable sentences in modern English literature is: “It was the best of all times; it was the worst of all times.” This view of life and current society is a variant on the theme of the half empty, half-full glass conundrum. In effect, there are always opposing views as to the state of humanity, society and for us, the Jewish people the world over, in any given generation. In...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOO MUCH, TOO FAST

Profligate behavior has always been a byproduct of great personal wealth, especially great wealth acquired relatively quickly. One of the great psychological rules of a great supply of money is that it searches for an outlet. Money burns a hole in one’s pocket. And thus many times, spending becomes foolish, ostentatious, unnecessary and sometimes even self-destructive. And in our instant...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYAKHEL

This week’s parsha deals at its onset with the holiness of Shabbat. The Torah also emphasizes that this subject and concept was dealt with b’hakhel – publicly and nationally. We may derive an instructive lesson from this – a lesson that has much current relevance in our present society. There are two aspects of Shabbat – one public and one private. The private Shabbat has a more...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

JUSTICE SCALIA

Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last week. He served as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court for the past thirty years. He was a brilliant jurist, an acerbic wit, a kind gentleman and a devout Roman Catholic. He was a strict constructionist of the American constitution, often stating that the simple language of the constitution should not be reinterpreted and twisted in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein