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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

SUKKOT 9/12/2021 05:05 PM

The culmination of the great month of Tishrei occurs with the commemoration of the holiday of Succot. It provides a joyful relief and release from the intensity of the first two major holidays of the month, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. While we experience an enjoyable sense of celebration, of commemoration and exalted purpose with these two unmatched high holy days, there is a sense of tension...

HAAZINU 5782 9/12/2021 12:00 AM

These last chapters of the Torah, culminating in this week's reading, are all a very serious and have an almost fearsome quality and tone. Heaven and earth are called upon to be the ultimate witnesses regarding the covenant that the Lord has made with Israel for all time. Rashi points out to us that human witnesses and even historical tradition within families, tribes and other groups are...

HOLIDAY MEMORIES 9/5/2021 12:57 AM

For me, the holiday season that we are now in, is a time of mixed emotions. They engender within all of us the understanding that circumstances change in the progress of life and its events. Therefore, I am taking the liberty of sharing some of my holiday memories with you. Nostalgia can be very alluring, but there is also always a modicum of hard-headed realism that memories of the past always...

VAYELECH 5782 9/5/2021 12:26 AM

Our teacher Moshe is described in the Parsha as being near the end of his life in this world. Yet, the Torah also describes his last days on earth as being vigorous, healthy, while continuing to teach and guide the people of Israel, as he had done for the past 40 years. The Torah itself testifies that even on the last days of life in this world, he was able to climb mountains, and gather the...

NITZAVIM 5781 8/29/2021 12:33 AM

Towards the conclusion of his long final oration to the Jewish people, our teacher Moshe refers once more to the covenant between God and Israel. A covenant is much more than a relationship or an agreement. Covenants, in the Jewish sense of the word, are not altered by changing times and differing circumstances. A covenant has the ring of eternity, not only in time but also in content. ...

KI TAVO 5781 8/22/2021 12:01 AM

The opening words of this week's Torah reading have been repeated often throughout the entire discourse by Moshe with the Jewish people, which constitutes the bulk of this book of Devarim. This two-word phrase, KI TAVO, should be understood as meaning “when you will come into the land of Israel,” and not an alternative meaning of "if you will conquer the land of Israel". There is a...

ELUL 8/15/2021 12:08 AM

The Hebrew month of Elul has traditionally been the month of intensive reflection and spiritual preparation. It is the month that precedes the holy days of judgment, and time of repentance and forgiveness. It personifies for us the preparations necessary for an individual who was about to go on trial regarding a serious matter, even one of life and death. No rational person would enter such a...

KI TEITZEI 5781 8/15/2021 12:04 AM

The Torah speaks of making war upon one's enemy. Who is this enemy? The simple explanation is that it is a physical or national enemy that wishes to harm the Jewish people or the commonwealth of Israel. To defend oneself from such an enemy, there are circumstances that dictate a type of preventive war that avoids later defeat or catastrophe. This is certainly the simple and literal...

SHOFTIM 5781 8/8/2021 11:09 AM

This week's Torah reading envisions for us an efficient, organized system of law and order, justice, and fairness. The Torah set a very high bar regarding the selection of judges and police. They are to be free of prejudice, bias and personally held agendas and social ideals. They are literally to be blind, without knowledge as to the nature and personalities of the litigants who appear before...

RE’EH 5781 8/1/2021 12:00 AM

Stripping away all the details that oftentimes clutter our lives, we can agree that the type of life that we live is pretty much dependent upon the choices that we make throughout our lifetimes. Often, these choices were made when we were yet young and immature. Nevertheless, we are forced to live by those choices and decisions, that we may now, with greater life experience under our belts,...