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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

BEHALOTCHA 6/16/2024 12:31 AM

It is a terrible personality trait to be a complainer. It is hard to live with complainers at home, in the workplace, and in the community. In this week’s parsha we are made aware of the dismal consequences of complaining. Rashi points out that the complainers in the desert had no real basis for their complaints. They were just dissatisfied somehow and so they complained against Moshe and...

NASSO 6/9/2024 12:22 AM

The idea of the nazir always raises questions and problems. The idea of monasticism is certainly not a basic Jewish value. Just the opposite seems to be true from the ideas and statements of the rabbis in the Talmud and from Jewish societal behavioral patterns over the centuries. Jewish society, in its divisions and manifestations is vitally and socially gregarious to the extreme, with a...

BAMIDBAR 6/2/2024 12:41 AM

I have always been fascinated why this book of the Bible and this week’s Torah reading is called Bamidbar – in the desert. The rabbis of Midrash have stated that the lesson involved here is that the Torah only remains in a person who empties all other causes from one’s midst, and is as open and unoccupied as is the desert. Nevertheless, there may be other insights that may be gleaned...

BECHUKOTAI 5/26/2024 12:36 AM

This week’s parsha, which concludes the book of Vayikra, deals with the realities of Jewish national and personal life. On one hand it describes in rapturous terms the blessings of happiness, security and serenity that can happen to the Jewish people and to the individual Jew. But on the other hand, it vividly and graphically describes death, exile, and tragedy. Jewish history bears out...

B’HAR 5/19/2024 12:24 AM

The parsha begins with the word that defines its name – b’har – on the mountain. The mountain naturally is Sinai and the Torah’s emphasis is to reinforce Judaism’s core belief that our Torah is God-given and not the work of a committee over centuries. This basic belief lies at the heart of many of the contentious disputes that have marked Jewish life over the ages. While original...

EMOR 5/12/2024 12:00 AM

The beginning part of this week’s parsha refers to the special laws and status regarding kohanim – the descendants of Aharon. It is common knowledge that a study based on the DNA samples of many current day kohanim reveals a common genetic strain amongst a considerable number of those who participated in the study. This strain is found to be common even amongst people who live in different...

KDOSHIM 5/5/2024 12:05 AM

The Torah’s definition of holiness and sanctity, of dignity of self and others, of respect to one’s body and that of others, is in the ability to channel and control one’s physical desires. The Torah explicitly does not condone celibacy nor does it demand from human beings any degree of self-mortification or masochism. It does most certainly demand from us responsible and balanced human...

Achrei Mos 5/1/2024 12:24 AM

The Torah has already described the tragedy of the family of Aaron, when his sons Nadav and Avihu died while performing incense burning on the day of the final dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. So, why does the Torah return to the subject and mention it again in this week’s Torah reading? The commentators over the ages, from the time of the Talmud onwards, have derived many explanations,...

METZORA 4/14/2024 12:02 AM

This week's parsha is truly one of the most difficult subjects for people in our time to contemplate, understand or from which to gain knowledge and inspiration. The entire subject of these mysterious diseases, which manifested themselves on the human body, in clothing and even in houses and buildings is technically discussed in the Mishna and also in various places in the Talmud itself....

TAZRIA 4/7/2024 12:00 AM

One of the primary commandments in Judaism is to marry and have children. In the Garden of Eden, we find Adam and Chava blessed by God and told to procreate and fill the world with people. For the Jewish people, having children has become a demographic necessity. Even though it is years since World II and the resultant Holocaust, the Jewish people has not as of yet made good on those immense...