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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

CHAYEI SARAH

It is very difficult to sum up the experiences, worth and influence of an individual purely in words. That is why many times at funerals people who hear eulogies of the deceased feel that somehow the words of the tribute really did not capture the essence of the individual being memorialized. In the Torah reading this week, Abraham is said to have eulogized his beloved wife Sarah. The Torah does...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

Auto Emancipation

In the late part of the nineteenth century, Dr. Leo Pinsker, one of the leading lights of the Lovers of Zion movement, wrote a book called Autoemancipation. The theme of the book was that the Jewish people should no longer wait for others to come to their aid and free them from the bondage of the long exile that they were still enduring, but rather that the Jews, by their own volition and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GRIDLOCK

One of the most dreaded situations motorists are forced to face is that of complete gridlock. This usually occurs when there is very heavy traffic, with the inherent frustration involved in trying to move forward, when motorists find themselves in the middle of the road with traffic blocked on their left and right. This inevitably leads to loud honking from all sides and only further frustrates...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYERA

The Mishnah in Avot specifically, and Jewish tradition generally, instructs us that our father Abraham was constantly challenged with great tests in life and was able to survive and surmount all of them. There is an underlying difficulty to this narrative regarding the testing of Abraham. God after all is omniscient and knows well in advance what the reaction of Abraham will be to all the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

OPTIMISM

One of the hallmark traits of Judaism is a spirit of optimism. Since oftentimes optimism flies in the face of reality and the factual situations we face, like all human traits, it is to be applied judiciously, in moderation and with a great deal of good common sense. Nevertheless, optimism is a permanent state of mind. Even in dark moments when our optimistic mood and hopes are dashed, optimism...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA

It is interesting to note that the Torah in its opening chapters deals with the lives of individuals with a seemingly very narrow focus. It portrays general society for us and tells us of the events that led up to the cataclysmic flood that destroys most of humanity, but even then, the Torah focuses on the lives of an individual, Noah and his family. This pattern continues in this week's reading...

Posted in:
Sabbath/ Holidays
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOACH

The Torah, in this week's reading, describes the rainbow as becoming the symbol of God's covenant with the humankind, that the world will not be destroyed by another flood. The appearance of the rainbow in the narrative of Noach and his emergence from the ark does not mean that the rainbow was created then. According to rabbinic tradition and the unchanging laws of nature, the rainbow existed...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HOME COOKING

Over the recent holiday of Sukkot two of my grandsons spent the joyous holiday with me in my home. They are very talented young men and among their many gifts, they fancy themselves to be very good cooks, if not even in the category of chefs. They made me solemnly promise that I would not order any food for the holidays from my usual suppliers and that they would purchase all the necessary raw...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BERESHITH

The Garden of Eden is portrayed for us as being the perfect place. Mortality had not yet entered the way of the world and our aged father and mother lived in an environment where everything was provided; food, shelter and freedom from external dangers. Yet, in this most idyllic of situations – one that we cannot begin to contemplate or imagine – temptation lurked even in this setting. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT LOOKS GOOD

We are all aware that looks can be quite deceiving. When the Torah describes for us the concept of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, it refers to it as being most desirous and pleasant in the eyes of our mother Eve. As we all know, this became the source of human mortality and the bitter sin that led to expulsion from Paradise. So, the lesson should be obvious that not everything that looks...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein