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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

BO 1/14/2018 12:50 AM

As the narrative of the Torah regarding the exodus of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery reaches its climax in this week’s reading, I feel that it is important for us to concentrate on the verb that the Lord uses so to speak in telling Moshe to once again appear before the Egyptian Pharaoh. The word “bo” in Hebrew means not only to come but it’s more nuanced understanding is to...

VAEIRA 1/7/2018 09:32 AM

Moshe had complained to God that since the Lord had sent him on a mission to the Pharaoh, the situation of the Jewish people had not only not improved but in fact had worsened. Moshe’s view of the matter was that somehow the Lord had not fulfilled the Divine part of the bargain. This opinion was based on Moshe’s human logic and understanding, which, even though Moshe was on such a high level,...

SHMOT 1/1/2018 07:55 AM

The Torah reading of this week introduces us to the figure and person that will dominate all of Jewish life – and perhaps world civilization as well – for eternity. Though the Torah tells us of Moshe’s birth, salvation from the crocodile infested Nile River, and his early life as the adopted son of the daughter of the Pharaoh, including the incident of his smiting of the Egyptian...

VAYECHI 12/24/2017 11:15 AM

The Torah in this week's reading records for us the end of the Egypt of our patriarchs and matriarchs. The era ends on a note of serenity, family harmony and bountiful success. The Jewish family is enjoying the best that the Egyptian civilization and economy could offer. However, nothing in human life that is physical is permanent. In a century or more, all of this goodness and security will...

VAYIGASH 12/18/2017 09:51 AM

The statement of our father Jacob to the Pharaoh of Egypt that “my years of life have been few and most unpleasant” is most perplexing. We all know the well-known anecdote that one of the most disappointing things in life is to ask someone how he or she is and they actually tell you. One would’ve expected that Jacob would have answered the Pharaoh in a general, positive fashion. Rashi...

MIKETZ 12/10/2017 10:11 AM

The entire narrative of the story of Joseph and his brothers, as he sent off the Jewish people to Egyptian society, slavery and ultimate redemption, is meant to illustrate to us the guiding hand of Providence in human affairs. There is no question that all of the participants in this dramatic narrative acted according to their own wishes and wisdom. Yet the confluence of all of these...

VAYASHEV 12/3/2017 10:17 AM

Our father Abraham had to deal mainly with his son Isaac in order to continue the tradition of monotheism and humanity that he had begun. His other children were sent away from his home so that in effect all of his efforts were concentrated on his son Isaac. Isaac himself had two sons, Jacob and Esau. He attempted to divide his attention and share his legacy with both of them. The sons were...

VAYISHLACH 11/27/2017 01:49 PM

The long-awaited confrontation between the brothers Eisav and Yaakov occurs. At the onset Yaakov is quite concerned over the meeting. He fears that his brother, who is arriving with a band of 400 men, will undoubtedly intend to do him harm. And he knows that his brother is capable of slaughtering innocent women and children. There must have been a great feeling of relief that overcame Yaakov when...

VAYETZEI 11/19/2017 11:03 AM

Our father Yaakov now embarks on a long, tortuous journey that represents the story of his life. In recounting his story before Pharaoh, when he descended to live in Egypt, he was brutally frank in assessing his life: “My years compared to those of my ancestors have been few, and they have not been good ones.” From the onset, he swims in a sea of troubles. He is robbed by his nephew,...

TOLDOT 11/12/2017 12:35 PM

Our father Avraham was, according to the Mishna in Avot, tested ten times and overcame all of them. It is interesting that most of the commentators that describe and enumerate these ten tests do not identify Avraham as being the son of Terach as one of these tests. One can easily think that this perhaps would have been one of the major tests in his lifetime. But the Torah takes into account a...