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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

PURIM ALWAYS 3/17/2019 12:02 PM

The book of Esther teaches us that “these days of Purim will never depart from the Jewish people and their generations." The part of the message that is being communicated to us here is that the struggle for Jewish survival – physical and otherwise – that is represented by the holiday of Purim, is a never-ending challenge that will not depart from our midst as long as the Jewish people...

TZAV 3/17/2019 10:21 AM

The daily permanent sacrifice that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and previously in the Tabernacle in the desert was called ‘olah.’ It was an offering that went completely to Heaven, so to speak, and was offered every morning and evening of each day of the year. It differed from other types of sacrifices in that it was consumed completely on the altar and no human being, not the...

VAYIKRA 3/10/2019 12:54 PM

As all of you are aware that the first word in this week's Torah reading is written in a different fashion in the scroll of the Torah itself.Theword ‘vayikra’ is written with a small ‘alef ‘at the end of the word. This has been discussed widely over the ages by the great commentators and thinkers of Israel, who have derived many important lessons from this unusual writing of the word. ...

PEKUDEI 3/3/2019 06:58 AM

One of the more popular buzzwords bandied about in current society is transparency. Loosely, this means that governments and financial institutions should have no secrets and that the public be allowed to know everything that occurs and to be able to see how money is being spent and allocated. This is a noble goal but like many goals it runs contrary to human nature and the goal is rarely if ever...

VAYAKHEL 2/24/2019 06:06 AM

The Torah reading of this week opens with a review and reiteration of the concept and laws of Shabbat. The rabbis of the Talmud used this juxtaposition of Shabbat and the detailed description of the construction of the Tabernacle to derive and define what type of work was forbidden on Shabbat. This is certainly very noteworthy as it forms the basis of understanding the values of Shabbat as they...

KI TISA 2/17/2019 06:58 AM

Population numbers do matter and they matter greatly. This is undoubtedly one of the many messages communicated to us in the Torah reading of this week. We see throughout the Torah that the Jewish people are counted often and in fairly exact detail. This is because there is an obvious lesson that has to be absorbed within Jewish society and that is that in order for Judaism and its value system...

DOUBLE ADAR 2/10/2019 06:37 AM

The month of Adar is designated in Jewish life as the month of joy and celebration – and with this being a Leap Year, we have a double dose of those special feelings. In every nineteen-year lunar-solar calendar cycle, there are seven years in which an extra lunar month is inserted into the Jewish calendar. This extra leap month is always the month of Adar. And with the wondrous holiday of...

TETZAVEH 2/10/2019 06:10 AM

The concept of an eternal light in the place of worship is an ancient one derived from the opening section of this week's reading of the Torah. The eternal light represents the unquenchable spirit and resilience of the eternal soul that the Lord has implanted within human beings. Human life can be taken away but the spirit of life, which is so unique to human beings, seems never to disappear. ...

TERUMAH 2/4/2019 10:53 AM

Even though the Lord requires no building or special place in the universe that He created, the Jewish people are commanded in this week's reading of the Torah to donate special materials and talented labor to begin the construction of such a building, where the spirit of the Lord, so to speak, will reign. There have been many ideas advanced over the ages as to why such a building was ever...

MISHPATIM 1/27/2019 11:34 AM

It is difficult, in the extreme, to understand the concluding part of this week's Torah reading. It is recorded that the noble people of Israel somehow gazed and saw the likeness of heaven and they were not immediately punished nor struck down for having done so. The Torah has made it abundantly clear in many places that no human being while alive can see, so to speak, a corporeal vision of the...