Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Sabbath/ Holidays

BAMIDBAR 5/13/2018 12:45 PM

I realize that I am making a very bad pun, but I must state that numbers really do count. The Torah takes us through the counting of the Jewish people many times and in detail. Though it may be difficult for us to understand why this should be so, the basic lesson that it teaches us is an important one for national survival. Simply put, we are being instructed that for Judaism and Jewishness to...

AVOT 5/13/2018 09:57 AM

Both the Mishnah and Talmud are unique in their style of composition for in effect it allows the students thousands of years later to feel as though they have entered into that ancient study hall to hear the discussion of the scholars of Israel. Though most of the text of the Mishnah covers matters of law, ritual, commandments and observances, the tractate called Avot deals almost exclusively...

BEHAR 4/30/2018 10:49 AM

Much comment has been made over the centuries regarding the fact that the Torah introduces this week's reading by stating that its revelation took place at the mountain of Sinai. Rashi says that this is to emphasize that the Torah is of divine origin, which is represented in human terms by the mountain of Sinai. There is great significance to describe and identify Godly instructions in terms of...

PESACH SHENI 4/29/2018 12:53 PM

The idea that is embedded in the commemoration of Pesach Sheni is truly a unique and exceptional one. The Torah generally provides no opportunities for do overs. One cannot fulfill the commandment of shofar or of lulav at any other time except those set aside for those commandments in the month of Tishrei. Yet here, regarding the Pesach offering complete with the commandments of matzoh and maror,...

EMOR 4/23/2018 10:10 AM

The Torah obviously envisions the creation within Jewish society of a special rite if not even elitist group of people - the kohanim, the priestly descendants of the family of Aharon. The existence of such a group within the ranks of Israel – a group that has laws exclusive to it alone and extra economic privileges - seems to fly in the face of all our current democratic ideals and societal...

ACHREI – KEDOSHIM 4/16/2018 12:56 PM

The book of Vayikra contains most of the mitzvoth/commandments that appear in the Torah itself. Because of this, it contains relatively little narrative. Nevertheless, the number and quality of the commandments themselves demand our study and appreciation. The Torah apparently could have sufficed by itself by just saying “be a good person.” In fact, this was the slogan of many Jews and even...

TAZRIA-METZORA 4/9/2018 12:44 PM

The human body is subject to all sorts of pressures that affect its health and well- being. Modern medicine has shown how mental moods, stress and psychic disturbances can adversely affect physical health and appearance. As modern technology has exploded in our time, in spite of all of its advantages, and there are many, our lives have become more stressful….and unfortunately psychological...

SHMINI 4/9/2018 12:40 PM

How are we to view and deal with the unavoidable tragedies that occur to all of us in our lifetimes? No one really escapes unscathed and untroubled from life in this world. The nature of human beings is that we are all mortal and therefore sadness and tragedy are always waiting for us in the wings. As such, the story of the death of the two elder sons of Aaron as recorded for us in this week’s...

PESACH 3/18/2018 12:15 PM

One of the more amazing things about the holiday of Pesach is that even though it is over 3300 years old it is relevant and current to our world today just as it was when it was originally celebrated by the Jewish people in Egypt long ago. It naturally speaks to every generation in a different tone and nuance, but its basic message of human freedom and Godly service has never changed. Its...

TZAV 3/18/2018 08:11 AM

The entire relationship between God and Israel is reflected in the opening verb of this week’s Torah reading. The word “tzav” reflects an attitude of command and of subservience. Even though explanations for the command may be given and understood, the command itself remains viable and imperative no matter what. The Lord called the Jewish people “an army of God.” An army...