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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

Bechukotai 5/20/2019 10:53 AM

The final portion of this third book of the Torah contains an ominous tone. This is because of the vivid description of evil events that will befall the Jewish people when they desert their Godly mission and sink to the level of the societies that surround and outnumber them. The Torah promises us that such behavior and attitudes will surely lead to disaster, exile and persecution from the very...

BEHAR 5/15/2019 11:05 AM

This week's Torah reading seems to emphasize that the granting of the Torah to Moshe, and through him to Israel generally, took place at the Mountain of Sinai. Since the Torah does not deal with incidental geographic details, this emphasis regarding the mountain bears study and analysis. Mountain climbing is a sport for the hardy of spirit and the physically fit. However most of us are perfectly...

EMOR 5/8/2019 06:34 AM

The opening subject matter in this week's Torah reading deals with the existence of impurities in Jewish and human society. In our world today, especially in the realm of the intelligentsia, there is a great deal of chatter and worry about the pollution of our atmosphere. When the threat of global warming proved to be unfounded, the environmentalists amongst us changed the focus of their dire...

K’DOSHIM 4/30/2019 06:49 AM

This week's Torah reading makes a heavy demand upon us. It commands us to be a holy and dedicated people and to continually aspire to heights of piety and holiness. Some will say that this is an almost impossible task and is especially difficult since the Torah does not define for us how it is to be achieved. But that is only a superficial understanding of what this Torah portion is coming to...

ACHREI MOS 4/28/2019 09:44 AM

This Torah reading is inextricably connected to the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. The first half of the reading comprises the very same Torah reading that is read on the morning of Yom Kippur, while the latter part of this reading is read publicly during the afternoon service of that day. The first part deals with the ritual and service of the high priest in the holy Temple on...

PESACH 4/14/2019 11:10 AM

At the great seder night of Pesach when we read and discuss the immortal words of the Pesach Hagada, my family has always enthusiastically sung the portion of the Hagada that we know as “Dayenu.” By the grace of God, I have been able to witness a number of my generations singing this meaningful poem of praise to the Almighty for the bountiful goodness that he has bestowed upon us. Since...

METZORA 4/7/2019 12:28 PM

The Torah reading of this week deals with the mysterious spiritual disease that caused physical manifestations on the skin of a human being, on the stones of a house or on the fabric of textiles. The rabbis connected the onset of this disease to words of hate and slander. Later generations incorrectly described this disease as being leprosy, but we are now aware that this is not an accurate...

SHABBAT HAGADOL 4/7/2019 11:05 AM

The Shabbat that precedes the holiday of Passover has been named by Jewish tradition as Shabbat Hagadol – the great Shabbat. Over the ages there have been numerous explanations and comments as to why this Shabbat is set apart from all others. The view that is recorded in rabbinic literature is that this Shabbat marks the anniversary of the Jewish people’s preparation of the sacrificial lamb...

TAZRIA 3/31/2019 11:01 AM

The opening portion of the Torah reading of this week deals with childbearing. Jewish tradition has to a great extent always been child centered. Bringing children into the world is one of the basic positive commandments of Judaism. Having children demonstrates a belief in the future and an optimistic view of life generally. Everyone knows that raising children constitutes a great...

SHMINI 3/24/2019 10:54 AM

We are all aware that personal disappointments and tragedies are unavoidable events in the life span of human beings. No one departs from this world unscathed by difficulties. In the Torah reading of this week we are informed of the death of the two elder sons of Aaron. The Torah ascribes their deaths to the fact that they offered up a strange fire on the altar in the process of burning the holy...