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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Weekly Parsha

DVARIM 7/15/2018 12:58 PM

In summing up the story of the Jewish people, from Egyptian slavery to the eve of their entry into their promised homeland, our great teacher and leader Moshe minces no words. He reminds the people of Israel of their shortcomings and of their transgressions during the 40 years that he has led them. There is very little bitterness in his narrative but rather just the damning truth of hard facts...

MATOT-MAASEI 7/8/2018 03:01 PM

In a certain sense we may view this week's Torah reading as being the concluding chapters of the written Torah of Moshe itself. Even though the fifth book of the written Torah, the book of Dvarim, is also to be treated with the holiness and eternal awe, regarding the four preceding books, there are opinions in the Talmud that they are to be assigned to a different category as far as rabbinic...

PINCHAS 7/2/2018 01:58 PM

Pinchas was introduced to us at the conclusion of last week's Torah reading in a less than auspicious manner. In a terribly chaotic and immoral situation affecting the Jewish people, Moshe and the other leaders of Israel are at a loss as to how to arrest the moral destruction of the people occurring before their very eyes. One would've thought that a rousing sermon or a prophetic vision could...

BALAK 6/24/2018 10:27 AM

After recounting all the inner failings and rebellions of the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai, as recorded for us on the Torah readings of the past few weeks, we are now forced to turn our attention to a great external threat to Jewish survival. Balak and Bilaam represent an unfortunately eternal opposition to Jewish existence and to the rights of the Jewish people as a nation. Their...

CHUKAT 6/17/2018 11:24 AM

In the Torah reading of this week we are reminded that one of the traits that Judaism emphasizes and encourages is that of obedience. Obedience requires a suspension of one’s own thought process and even behavior. Since this is not usually an acceptable state of being for humans, there is a natural tendency for disobedience and even rebellion. Children resent having to obey their parents,...

KORACH 6/10/2018 11:51 AM

In one of his more surprising and controversial statements, Maimonides posits that our great teacher and leader Moshe was subject to becoming angry at certain occasions during his 40-year leadership of the Jewish people. Being a leader, constantly in the public eye and subject to the human inclination to criticize leadership, no matter how able and enlightened it truly is, certainly can bring one...

SHLACH 6/3/2018 12:29 PM

In our current democratically oriented mindset we subscribe to the tenent that majority rules. Because of this mentality, many times the opinion of the minority is never taken seriously or properly assessed. Yet, throughout world and Jewish history apparently the majority opinion was not always the correct one, and harmful consequences followed from its adoption The Talmud therefore is always...

B'HALOTCHA 5/27/2018 10:38 AM

Human beings are by their very nature creatures who are eternally dissatisfied and fearful. It is a rare person that, even at a joyous family occasion, can grasp the moment and fully enjoy it. Even as the bridal couple stands under their marriage canopy, observers and the families of those concerned are already fretting about what the future will hold for the young couple. Rarely can a person...

NASSO 5/20/2018 12:00 PM

The almost endless repetition of the gifts of the elders of the tribes of Israel, at the time of the dedication of the Tabernacle in the desert, has presented a problem to all the commentators to the Torah over the ages. Why does the Torah, that is often so sparing with words even when discussing important and eternal commandments and issues, allow itself to be so expansive and repetitive in this...

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...