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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYEITZEI 11/27/2022 12:34 AM

Our father Jacob was a very strong and powerfully physical person. We read of his physical prowess in his previous encounter with the shepherds of Haran and later of his wrestling match with the angel of Esav, at the river of Yaabok. His sons, though young in years, are also very powerful and strong physically and filled with self-confidence, without fear of confronting dangerous enemies. We will...

TOLDOT 11/20/2022 12:20 AM

In the competition between the brothers Esau and Jacob, Esau originally downplays any long-range view of the situation. He demands immediate gratification and is therefore more than willing to relinquish his birthright – which is only a long-range asset – in favor of an immediate bowl of hot lentils. As the Torah dutifully records for us in this week's reading, Esau will come to regret this...

CHAYEI SARAH 11/13/2022 12:01 AM

Our matriarchs of Israel were very strong personalities and were formidable women. The life experiences of our mother Sarah are an excellent example of this assessment of character and behavior. From the Torah narrative we are informed early on that she is infertile, unable to conceive and give birth naturally. Nevertheless, we do not hear despair from her. She is willing to bring another woman...

VAYEIRA 11/6/2022 12:58 AM

Wars, family dysfunction, and the danger of future extinction are the challenges that confront our father Avraham and our mother Sarah in the narrative that dominates this week’s Torah reading. In this era, correcting the past and editing personal biographies to make people’s lives appear perfect, serene and smooth, is especially true. This methodology attempts to make the subject character...

LECH LECHA 10/30/2022 12:19 AM

There is much comment and many different interpretations regarding the first two words of the second verse of this week’s Torah reading. The second word “lecha” – “for you” seems to be somewhat redundant in the construction of the sentence. Rashi therefore interprets it to mean “for your benefit and good.” The Lord instructs Abraham to leave his homeland and family located in...

NOACH 10/23/2022 12:07 AM

The greater a person is or believes he or she is, the smaller the room for error in one’s life decisions. Had Noach been merely Mr. Noach, his choice of beginning the world again with a vineyard and wine would have been acceptable and even understandable. After all, the trauma of the destruction of so many human beings in the waters of the great flood required some sort of release of tension...

BERESHITH 10/19/2022 11:59 AM

In the whirlwind cascade of events that fill this opening parsha of the Torah, one can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of subjects discussed. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, after they exercised their free will to disobey God's commandment, is an important issue to dwell upon and discuss. What life was like within...

HAAZINU 10/2/2022 12:00 AM

The special nature and all of the events of Jewish history are outlined for us in this week’s parsha. Ramban in the 13th century comments that anyone who can, so many centuries earlier, accurately foretell the later fate of a people is an exceptional prophet. Moshe certainly fits that description and test. And what more can we add to this phenomenon, now seven hundred-fifty years after...

VAYELECH/SHUVA 9/28/2022 10:27 AM

The parsha of Vayelech is the parsha that contains the smallest number of verses – only thirty – of any other parsha in the Torah. It also is the parsha that usually coincides with Shabat Shuva, the holy Shabat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The words of the parsha are part of the last testament of Moshe uttered on the day of his passing from this earth. As is his want, Moshe...

NITZAVIM 9/18/2022 12:10 AM

In emphasizing once again the eternal validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people, Moshe addresses his words to the entire nation. All classes of society are included in the covenant – the heads of the people, the judges, the wealthy and powerful, the poor, menial and manual laborers, and those that chop the wood and draw the water. No one is excluded from the terms of the covenant and...