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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

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...

PINCHAS 7/5/2020 01:16 PM

The Torah traces the lineage of Pinchas back to his grandfather Aaron. At first glance, there are no more disparate characters that appear to us in the Torah's narrative. Aaron is gentle and kind, compromising and seeking peace between differing people and factions, noble in character and beloved by all of Israel. When Aaron passes from the world, the entire Jewish people without exception...

BALAK 6/28/2020 02:37 PM

The prophet Bilaam experiences a conversation from Heaven. The conversation, as the Torah records for us, begins with Heaven asking Bilaam who were the people who came to visit? Isn't that a strange question? First, if Heaven knows that people came to visit him, it is also aware who those people were. And why should Heaven even bother to ask? Is this germane to the central issue as to whether...

CHUKAT 6/21/2020 02:34 PM

The Jewish people find themselves in great difficulty after the death of the prophetess Miriam. Her miraculous well had sustained them with water during their long sojourn in the desert of Sinai. And now that she was no longer alive, this water, so identified with her being, also disappeared from their midst. They complain to Moshe and clamored for water. People can go on for days without solid...

KORACH 6/15/2020 11:04 AM

There are always differences within a team regarding the role and efficacy of leadership and leaders. All leaders are subject to criticism and second guessing. It comes with the job and there is no escaping it. Nevertheless, when the criticism descends to the level of personal abuse, and when it is obviously motivated by jealousy and other susceptible causes, then the criticism crosses the line...

Shlach 5780 6/7/2020 09:39 AM

The Land of Israel has always been a challenge to the People of Israel. There are many reasons for this, both obvious and subtle. The Land of Israel plays a central role in Judaism, in Jewish life, within its laws and world view. Yet, for a great part of Jewish history, the Jewish People itself was absent from the Land of Israel. Because of this absence, the Land of Israel was not a reality in...

Beha'alotcha 5/31/2020 09:36 AM

In this week’s Torah reading we hear an oft repeated refrain uttered by many in the generation that found itself in the desert of Sinai. They said that we want to return to Egypt. The present is too difficult, and the future is too uncertain so let us go home to Egypt which we were familiar with and where we knew what to expect. All human beings fear uncertainty. The future is always...