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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

EKEV 5781 7/25/2021 12:03 AM

In this week's portion, the Torah seemingly indicates that there is a simple formula for Jewish life and success while living in the land of Israel. If we follow the commandments of God and observe the laws of the Torah, the Jewish people will be showered with physical blessings of health, longevity, and prosperity. And if the Jewish people, for whatever reasons, chooses to deviate from the...

COMFORT AND CONSOLATION 7/18/2021 05:12 PM

The Jewish people has searched for some sort of physical and psychological response to the destruction of the Temple, the millennia-long dispersion throughout the world, and the continuing enmity from much of the non-Jewish world and societies. Consolation is hard to come by, let alone comfort and some sense of serenity. The pain of centuries of humiliation, discrimination and violence cannot...

VA-ETCHANAN 5781 7/18/2021 05:11 PM

Although our teacher Moshe figuratively tears down the gates of Heaven with his prayers and supplications to be allowed to enter the land of Israel, his wish is not granted. Over the centuries, the commentators have offered various explanations as to why Heaven, so to speak, remains so adamant in refusing his request and prayer. Even though many great and noble insights have been advanced to...

DVARIM 5781 7/11/2021 09:36 AM

This last oration of our teacher Moshe reviews the occurrences in history of the Jewish people after their miraculous Exodus from Egypt. The words of Moshe are very personal to him alone and reflect his recollection and viewpoint of all of the events and incidents that occurred during the 40 -year sojourn of the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai. Nuances of difference sometime appear...

MATOT-MAASEI 5781 7/4/2021 12:00 AM

The combination of these two sections of the Torah constitutes the question, raised by all commentators over the ages, as to whether there is a connection between these two Parshiot, or is it just a matter of calendar convenience that unites them is one Torah reading on this coming Sabbath. I have always believed that there are no random occurrences or events as they appear in the text in the...

PINCHAS 5781 6/27/2021 08:50 AM

There were extremely negative murmurings within the people of Israel in objection to the actions of Pinchas for his zealousness in slaying Zimri together with the lecherous princess of Midian, Kozbi bat Tzur. Many attributed the violence of his act to the fact that his mother that his mother was a Midianite and that he was descended from a priest of Midian himself. There are those amongst us...

BALAK 5781 6/20/2021 12:30 AM

The Talmud incisively comments that it is not the mouse that is a thief,but, rather, it is the hole in the wall that allows the mouse entry into the house that is the culprit. There is no question that the villain in this week's Torah reading is Bilaam. His hatred of the Jewish people is long-standing. He was one of the advisors to the Pharaoh of Egypt who encouraged that tyrant to enslave the...

CHUKAT 5781 6/13/2021 12:27 AM

The fate of the generation that left Egypt and came to the Sinai desert is finally sealed in this week's Torah reading. Even though we already read in last week's Torah portion about the disaster and eventual demise of that generation because of the slanderous report of the Spies that visited the land of Israel, Moshe somehow was convinced that he himself would escape their fate. He appears to...

KORACH 5781 6/6/2021 12:33 AM

The Torah teaches us in this week's reading that one should never underestimate the power and influence that ego and arrogance can play within the lives of people who are otherwise seen as wise, capable, and even moral. Throughout the ages, the commentators have asked themselves the famous question, quoted by Rashi and based on midrash: “What drove Korach to commit such a foolish act?” ...

SHLACH 5781 5/30/2021 12:00 AM

The land of Israel has always posed a problem for the Jewish people. On one hand, it is and always has been our national homeland, the land promised to us by the Lord from the days of our forefathers. It is the Holy Land, the most special place on earth. On the other hand, the record of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, and their behavior and attitudes, has often been a spotty one. The...