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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Weekly Parsha

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...

BECHUKOTAI 5/6/2018 10:54 AM

The Torah reading of this week concludes the book of Vayikra. As is obvious to all who study this book, it is primarily concerned with laws and observances and the details connected to those Divine commandments. Even though the Torah had intimated previously that the observance of these commandments was not a matter of pure recommendation or suggestion but that they were mandatory conditions for...

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...

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...

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...

VAYIKRA 3/11/2018 10:57 AM

The opening words of this the third book of the Torah highlights for us an important idea. It is that God so to speak calls upon the people for service, position and action. Moshe is called on by God to order the services in the Temple. He used to see this task as being his personal responsibility. This idea that God calls upon people regularly to accomplish the will of Heaven is expressed...

VAYAKHEL – PEKUDEI 3/5/2018 09:17 AM

The commentators over the ages who have studied every word of the Torah carefully and meticulously particularly note that the review and accounting for the construction of the Mishkan/Tabernacle was preceded by convening all of the Jewish people before Moshe and once again reviewing the laws and importance of Shabbat. The main and obvious lesson to be derived from this juxtaposition of...