Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

JEWISH PRIVILEGE

Anti-Semitism is an old and pernicious disease, for which much of mankind has never found an adequate antidote or cure. It reappears in every generation, and almost in every clime and country. However, like many other deadly viruses, it constantly mutates, assuming different ideologies, slogans, and activities in each different instance. But its goal is always the same – to demonize the Jewish...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EKEV

The word that this week's Torah reading derives its name from is Ekev. There are many subtle nuances that exist within this short three letter Hebrew word. Our teacher Rashi uses a midrashic interpretation that connects the word to the Hebrew noun which refers to the heel of a person. He indicates that there are important considerations in Torah and life that people somehow step upon with their...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DEMONSTRATIONS

Over the past few weeks, the neighborhood that I live in here in Jerusalem, Rechavia, has been subjected to almost nightly demonstrations. The demonstrators gather across from the house of the Prime Minister of Israel, and proceed to make a lot of noise, beat drums, block traffic, and generally make one aware of their presence. However, I am not really clear as to what they are demonstrating for....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VA-ETCHANAN

The Shabbat immediately after the sad fast day of 9 Av is called Shabbat Nachamu – the Shabbat of comfort and consolation. This Shabbat draws its name from the first two words of the prophet Yeshayahu, and this series of prophetic readings continues for seven weeks with a message of hope and contentment. The prophetic readings leading up to the ninth of Av were only three in number, but...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WRITER’S BLOCK

Human beings who regularly put pen to paper or, in the case of modern society, finger to keyboard or voice to dictating computer programs, are faced with the often-recurring problem of writer’s block. In my experience, writer’s block occurs in two different formats, both of which are equally annoying, frustrating, and challenging. One form of writer's block is that the writer simply has no...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DEVARIM

Our great teacher Moshe begins his final oration to the Jewish people in this week's Torah portion. He reviews for them the history of his stewardship of the Jewish people over the past 40 years. He recounts the miracles and tragedies that befell the Jewish people, from the Exodus from Egypt until the very day that they now stand at the banks of the river Jordan preparing to enter the land of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT – MAASEI

This week's Torah reading begins with our teacher Moshe calling together the heads of the tribes of Israel, and relating to them the laws of the Torah regarding vows, promises, commitments and verbal speech. On the surface, there seems to be no reason why these laws should especially be given through the offices and conduct of the heads of the tribes of Israel. These laws apply to all Jews, and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ROYALTY

The Talmud recommends that we should make every attempt to view royalty along with its pomp and circumstances whenever we can. The Talmud explains that by seeing and visualizing the honor and deference paid to human beings of royalty, we can then gain a glimpse of understanding regarding the honor and deference that we should pay to the royalty of heaven itself. I remember that when Queen...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

The Torah traces the lineage of Pinchas back to his grandfather Aaron. At first glance, there are no more disparate characters that appear to us in the Torah's narrative. Aaron is gentle and kind, compromising and seeking peace between differing people and factions, noble in character and beloved by all of Israel. When Aaron passes from the world, the entire Jewish people without exception...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IMPLOSION

Even a cursory review of world history allows the reader to realize that great and mighty countries and empires fall not necessarily because of outside pressures, but because of the implosion of the society itself. Rome ruled the world for over five centuries, and, at the height of its power, it succumbed to barbaric tribes. The breakup and disintegration of the Empire came as Rome was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein