Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

HAAZINU 9/16/2018 09:53 AM

All Jewish history, past, present and future, is on parade before our eyes and ears in this final section of the great oration of Moshe to the Jewish people before his passing. The greatness and pettiness, the holiness and decadence of the people are in the immortal words of this week’s Torah reading. But it is the first word of that reading that conveys the entire idea of Moshe’s message. ...

VAYELECH 9/9/2018 11:00 AM

Moshe, our great teacher and leader, the greatest of all prophets and the lawgiver of the Torah to Israel and the world, remains in his role as the greatest teacher even on his last day at on earth. And the words of Moshe, as recorded for us in this week’s Torah reading, are probably some of the strongest words of prophecy that exist in the Holy Scriptures. Moshe, like all great teachers,...

NITZAVIM 9/2/2018 10:48 AM

After centuries of enslavement in Egypt and decades of wandering in a trackless and forbidding desert, our teacher Moshe points out the obvious. Namely, that the Jewish people are still standing strong and resilient and about to embark on the great adventure of creating Jewish national sovereignty in the land of Israel. However, often in life the obvious is not so obvious and we are unable to...

KI TAVO 8/26/2018 11:26 AM

Throughout this final oration of Moshe, he constantly emphasizes that when the Jewish people finally cross the Jordan and enter the land of Israel there are additional commandments and behavior patterns that will be demanded of them. He reiterates that the land of Israel is bountiful and beautiful, blessed and holy but he warns them that this is a venue that makes demands upon its...

KI TETITZEI 8/19/2018 11:37 AM

The Torah in this week's reading speaks about wars against our enemies. Unfortunately, over the long period of Jewish history and today as well there is no shortage of enemies arrayed against Israel and the Jewish people. The Torah does not enumerate who these enemies are, it just states generally that there certainly will be enemies and constant struggles and challenges, a strange but...

SHOFTIM 8/12/2018 08:44 AM

The Torah deals with human realities and not with imaginary paradises and utopian societies. As such, the Torah pre-supposes that there will be disagreements and altercations between human beings even in the Jewish society that allegedly should be protected from these untoward events by simply observing the values and ordinances of the Torah. Human beings are contentious creatures and their...

RE’EH 8/5/2018 11:13 AM

There are many things in life that appear to be simple and logical to one person and yet remain beyond the understanding of one’s companion, friend or acquaintance. To our great teacher Moshe, someone who is blessed with the immense powers of prophecy and who is spiritually able to communicate with Heaven almost at will, the mission of life and of the Jewish people is simple and visible to...

EKEV 7/29/2018 12:47 PM

There is a subdued sense of frustration and even disappointment in the words of Moshe as he speaks to the Jewish people throughout this entire book of Dvarim. This sense of frustration is akin to that of a parent speaking to a recalcitrant teenage child who simply does not understand the ramifications of his/her behavior and the reality of the ways of the world. Since perhaps many if not...

VAETCHANAN 7/22/2018 12:52 PM

The text of the review of the Ten Commandments that appears in this week's Torah reading differs slightly from the text that appeared previously in the book of Shemot. As you can well understand, there has been much commentary and explanation over the centuries of Jewish scholarship regarding these differences in words, even though the basic ideas of the Commandments remain constant in both...

DVARIM 7/15/2018 12:58 PM

In summing up the story of the Jewish people, from Egyptian slavery to the eve of their entry into their promised homeland, our great teacher and leader Moshe minces no words. He reminds the people of Israel of their shortcomings and of their transgressions during the 40 years that he has led them. There is very little bitterness in his narrative but rather just the damning truth of hard facts...