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Weekly Parsha

VAYERA 5782 10/17/2021 12:00 AM

Our father Abraham experiences the revelation of the Lord when he is sitting alone at the opening of his tent. Only a few days had passed since his circumcision and the day itself is being described. He appears to us as a solitary figure, wrapped in his own thoughts, searching for attachment to his Creator. We are accustomed to think of this situation as being one of preparation for the visit of...

LECH LECHA 5782 10/10/2021 12:00 AM

We recognize that in many ways our father Abraham is an innovator, a one-of-a-kind individual, someone who is original, unique, and fearless in his quest for the betterment of the human race and the creation of the Jewish people. Among all his other achievements, if we look carefully at the opening chapters of the Lech Lecha, we find that our father Abraham is also the first human being recorded...

NOACH 5782 10/4/2021 11:49 AM

The ten generations described in the Torah, from Adam until Noach, produced only chaos and eventual destruction. There were a few individuals, such as Chanoch, who were moral and positive people. However, they had little, if any, influence on the general society in which they lived, and not even one person who would follow them and their moral behavior. Our world, and all our societies are,...

Bereshith 5782 9/29/2021 08:23 PM

The Torah in this week's opening reading begins with a description of the generations of human beings – the narrative of human life and civilization. It points out that originally there was a choice of whether to live in paradise in the Garden of Eden, or to attempt to reach for hoped-for human greatness and accomplishment through knowledge, intellect, and the human spirit. That choice,...

HAAZINU 5782 9/12/2021 12:00 AM

These last chapters of the Torah, culminating in this week's reading, are all a very serious and have an almost fearsome quality and tone. Heaven and earth are called upon to be the ultimate witnesses regarding the covenant that the Lord has made with Israel for all time. Rashi points out to us that human witnesses and even historical tradition within families, tribes and other groups are...

VAYELECH 5782 9/5/2021 12:26 AM

Our teacher Moshe is described in the Parsha as being near the end of his life in this world. Yet, the Torah also describes his last days on earth as being vigorous, healthy, while continuing to teach and guide the people of Israel, as he had done for the past 40 years. The Torah itself testifies that even on the last days of life in this world, he was able to climb mountains, and gather the...

NITZAVIM 5781 8/29/2021 12:33 AM

Towards the conclusion of his long final oration to the Jewish people, our teacher Moshe refers once more to the covenant between God and Israel. A covenant is much more than a relationship or an agreement. Covenants, in the Jewish sense of the word, are not altered by changing times and differing circumstances. A covenant has the ring of eternity, not only in time but also in content. ...

KI TAVO 5781 8/22/2021 12:01 AM

The opening words of this week's Torah reading have been repeated often throughout the entire discourse by Moshe with the Jewish people, which constitutes the bulk of this book of Devarim. This two-word phrase, KI TAVO, should be understood as meaning “when you will come into the land of Israel,” and not an alternative meaning of "if you will conquer the land of Israel". There is a...

KI TEITZEI 5781 8/15/2021 12:04 AM

The Torah speaks of making war upon one's enemy. Who is this enemy? The simple explanation is that it is a physical or national enemy that wishes to harm the Jewish people or the commonwealth of Israel. To defend oneself from such an enemy, there are circumstances that dictate a type of preventive war that avoids later defeat or catastrophe. This is certainly the simple and literal...

SHOFTIM 5781 8/8/2021 11:09 AM

This week's Torah reading envisions for us an efficient, organized system of law and order, justice, and fairness. The Torah set a very high bar regarding the selection of judges and police. They are to be free of prejudice, bias and personally held agendas and social ideals. They are literally to be blind, without knowledge as to the nature and personalities of the litigants who appear before...