Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

STORIES

One of the most fundamental lessons in public speaking is the ability, or rather the necessity, of the speaker to tell a story to illustrate the message that is being delivered. People remember stories much longer and with much greater nostalgia than learned interpretations and abstract thoughts and ideas. And if the story is somehow humorous – and the only humor that is acceptable in such...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABBAT SHOES

When I was growing up in Chicago, a long time ago, most Jewish families were still living under the shadow of the Depression. As such, when I was young, I always had only one pair of shoes, which I wore on weekdays, Shabbat, holidays, and even special family occasions, until they wore out. Then, I got another pair of shoes. By the time that my children were born and required shoes, the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH 5781

The brothers and Joseph finally meet each other head-on, without pretense and subterfuge. When Joseph reveals himself to the brothers, the veil of secrecy, role-playing, distrust, and enmity is ripped away. The dreams that apparently were the cause of this gripping family drama now reappear in their stark and simple meaning. The sheaves of grain are the brothers and the constellation of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAVDALAH

At the conclusion of the Sabbath the rabbis ordained an additional short service to mark the end of the holy Sabbath and the beginning of the weekday. I have always been emotionally affected by this service. It is the genius of Judaism to be able to differentiate between the holy and the mundane, between what is special and unique, and what is essentially ordinary and usual. In fact, it was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MIKETZ 5781

The dreams of Joseph are actualized in this week's Torah reading. Miracles, though hidden, are somewhat natural events, and in this instance occur to facilitate this realization of the dreams of Joseph. We all dream, but not all dreams are miraculous per se. The great Pharaoh of Egypt also had dreams. The fact that he dreamt of fat cows and lean cows is also understandable, for that was the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYESHEV 5781

This week's Torah reading begins with a simple statement that our father Yaakov settled in the land where his father had lived his entire life – the land of Canaan. Why is it so important that the Torah should bother to mention that this land was the land of Canaan? It seems obvious that we know from previous chapters where the family of Yaakov lived, and that it was the land of Canaan that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHANUKAH 5781

As we know, it is our tradition to recite the Hallel service on all eight days of the festival of Chanuka. However, on the great festival day of Purim, a day which also celebrates the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from disaster and extinction, the Hallel service is omitted from prayers recited on that day. The rabbis of the Talmud, commenting upon this difference between these...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYISHLACH 5781

One of the more perplexing questions that is raised in this week's Torah reading is why Yaakov sends agents and messengers to Eisav to inform his brother of his return to the land of Israel. King Solomon in Proverbs had already advised to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak. So why should Yaakov place himself in a situation of anticipated danger and difficulty when it could have avoided. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE LOST COMPUTER FILE

Computers are a wonderful invention. In our current world, it is impossible to think how we would function without them. Even though until a little over a half-century ago we apparently did function very well without them, today it is unthinkable to think that we could somehow be productive and efficient without computers. Such is the nature of technological progress, that it not only makes past...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MEMORIES

The human brain is an unbelievably complex organ. It houses millions of facts, of data and information. It also is the storehouse of human memories. In fact, everything that has ever been said or done by any individual is, somehow, stored and remembered by the individual’s brain. Most of the time, we can control which memories we wish to bring to the fore, and which events and conversations we...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein