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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ha'azinu 9/21/2020 12:09 AM

Moshe appeals to Heaven and earth to somehow hear his words and bear testimony to the accuracy of his prophecies. Nature does not have a will of its own, but, rather, is bound by the original directions and system created by God when the universe came into being. Unlike human beings who possess free will and can make choices even when those choices are against their own self-interest, nature is...

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH 5780 9/6/2020 10:14 AM

The very two words that signify the titles of the two portions of the Torah that we will hear in the synagogue this Shabbat are, at first glance, contradictory. Nitzavim signifies a solid stance, and unwavering presence, and a commanding appearance. It reflects an unchanging nature, and the necessary ability to stand one's ground. no matter what the circumstances of life. On the other hand,...

KI TAVO 8/30/2020 11:42 AM

I have in earlier years written about the strange requirement that the Torah imposes upon the Jewish farmer in the land of Israel when he brings his first crop of the year to Jerusalem as an offering in the Temple. However, I want to reiterate and expand on the matter once again in this short article because I believe it to be of vital and relevant importance to us in our times. The Jewish...

KI TETZEI 5780 8/23/2020 10:07 AM

The Torah always views life as a struggle, a conflict between the various natures that exist within each human being, a fight between rational good and instinctive evil. Rashi points out in his commentary to this week's Torah reading, that the Torah is addressing itself directly to the evil instinct that lies within all of us and warns us. Even if we do not behave in an illegal manner, unpleasant...

SHOFTIM 5780 8/16/2020 09:09 AM

It can be said that the Torah is in favor of law and order. In this week's reading, the Torah prescribes a system of judges, courts, and police. The Torah apparently takes it for granted that no society can really function without these institutions of law and protection. The Torah warns us that these institutions must be ones of righteousness, fairness, and even altruism, but they must exist...

RE’EH 8/9/2020 12:35 AM

To Moshe, life choices are clear and self-evident. He tells the Jewish people to merely look, and they will see the difference between life and death, good and evil, eternity and time-burdened irrelevance. He implores the Jewish people to use their common sense, to pay attention to the experiences over the past 40 years in the desert, and their story. Then, they will be able to clearly see their...

EKEV 8/2/2020 12:57 AM

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...

VA-ETCHANAN 7/26/2020 12:27 AM

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...

DEVARIM 7/19/2020 12:26 AM

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...

MATOT – MAASEI 7/12/2020 01:00 PM

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...