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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Balak 5782

Sunday, July 3, 2022

We are taught in the book of Mishlei-Proverbs by King Solomon that it is better to hear criticism from a friend than compliments from someone who is truly one's enemy. This week's Torah reading abounds in compliments given to the Jewish people by the leading prophet of the non-Jewish world, Bilaam. From all of the compliments showered upon us by this person of evil, we are able learn the true intentions of the one blessing us. Our sages remark that the criticism leveled by our father Jacob against Shimon are to be counted amongst the blessings that he bestowed individually on each of his children. The words of review and correction serve to save these tribes from extinction and...

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Torah reading of this week deals with a ritual in the Temple – that of the Red Heifer – which is characterized as being a commandment beyond the ken of human understanding and rational interpretation. It remains a primary example of certain commandments that, at their very core, are not easily interpreted or made relevant to human behavior, nor to moral understanding and judgment. The Torah itself calls this commandment a chok, which must be obeyed without question or doubt, for it is beyond human comprehension and understanding to genuinely appreciate and value its essence and purpose. This is the reason the entire Torah reading of this week is called Chukat – the law and...

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