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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

Bamidbar 5/17/2020 11:41 AM

This section of the Torah is entitled, Bamidbar, in the desert. It is hard for us to imagine, though it may be less hard in our current situation than it was before we were put into quarantine, how the Jewish people lived in the desert for four decades. Since they had no gainful occupations and they had no struggle to feed themselves for the miraculous bread from heaven fell and the well of...

Shavuos – The Book of Ruth 5/17/2020 08:27 AM

Every biblical narrative has at its heart a main character, a hero or heroine. Even though the book and the scroll of Ruth is named for her, the true main character and heroine of the story is Naomi. This is confirmed in the book itself when the prophet Samuel, the author of the book, relates that when Ruth gave birth to Oved, the women of Bethlehem declared; “A male child has been born to...

Behar – Bechukotai 5/10/2020 11:27 AM

How much is a human being worth? In the Torah reading of this week, the value of a person is pledged to the temple in terms of a scale measured in money. Now, obviously the Torah does not mean that we are to judge a human being's value this way. The worth of a human being is inestimable, and no two people are the same. Their value will be dependent upon circumstances and their life experiences....

Emor 5/3/2020 04:01 PM

This week's Torah reading begins with a rather detailed instruction sheet for the children of Aaron, the priests of Israel. The Torah describes for us the limitations that were placed upon them in order to guarantee that their service would be in purity and in holiness. Aspects of this instruction are still enforced today. Those who are of the priestly clan observe them rigidly even if, in...

Achrei Mot - Kedoshim 4/26/2020 12:01 AM

The death of the two sons of Aaron remain one of the great mysteries that the Torah presents to us. The Talmud and Midrash have advanced several ideas as to why such a tragedy occurred and it may seem to a certain extent it was self-inflicted. The reasons for their failures are listed - they had drunk too much wine, they never intended to marry and father a family and they wanted their elders to...

Tazria-Metzorah 4/19/2020 02:54 PM

This week's Torah portion deals with a mysterious, enigmatic, and unknown physical disease. Somehow this disease brings uncleanliness and defilement to the human body and is manifested in blotches of color which appear on the skin of the person. It can also affect inanimate objects such as bricks and wood in the house and the fabric of clothing and textiles. All of this is mysterious, and we...

SHEMINI 4/13/2020 04:22 PM

The death of the two sons of Aaron remains one of the great mysteries in Torah narrative. The Midrash and the commentators offer various explanations as to the cause of this tragedy. The sons did not want to marry, they had somehow drunk wine and were inebriated, as well as other faults ascribed to them. And since the work of the priests was so holy and delicate, their deaths occurred. However,...

TZAV 3/29/2020 05:47 PM

In this week’s Torah reading we are taught that the sons of Aaron, the priestly clan of Israel, were charged with the responsibility of keeping an eternal permanent flame burning on the sacrificial altar of the Temple. This miraculous flame appeared to form the image of a crouching lion on the top of that altar. This permanent flame was in addition to another permanent eternal light that...

SHABBAT HAGADOL 3/29/2020 05:46 PM

This Shabbat which immediately precedes Pesach is crowned with the title of Shabbat Hagadol – the Great Shabbat. Since every Shabbat is also crowned with greatness then why does this pre-Pesach Shabbat merit a special appellation? There is one basic principle that underlies all the many explanations. And that is that basically, without Shabbat there really can never be a truly meaningful...

Vayikra 3/22/2020 11:22 AM

In this week's Torah reading, the Torah describes for us the rituals of offering sacrifices in the temple. Our generation and our society are far removed from the concept of animal sacrifices and, because of this, the Torah reading somehow does not really speak directly to us. Already in the 13th century, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon offered the idea that we have to view sacrifices for the value...