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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYETZE 5781

We are all aware of the famous comment of Rashi on the opening word of this week's Torah reading: that the departure of a pious man from the community leaves a void and a negative impression. This comment is in line with the pattern that we have seen from the beginning of the Book of Bereishit, i.e. that the Torah is more interested in the lives of individuals, than in the general pattern of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEWISH GROWTH

Numerically, the Jewish people are only an exceedingly small part of humanity. Even at the height of the most optimistic of surveys, we were and are a small constituent in the overall picture of the numbers of humans who inhabit this planet. This is always been so, for the Torah itself guaranteed that we would be the least numerous amongst nations. Nevertheless, at the very same time, we...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Toldot

The question raised by all of the commentators who have dealt with this week's Torah reading is a simple one: How could it be that Eisav, a child who is raised in the house of great and holy parents, Yitzchak and Rivkah, could somehow turn out to be a terribly evil person – a murderer, rapist, thief and criminal? It is difficult in the extreme to truly comprehend this issue. However, all...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH 5781

Jewish tradition teaches us that the house of our mother Sarah had unique qualities. I have written about this often but add the following nuance to my previous writings. We are taught that in the tent of Sarah there were three outstanding qualities: the blessing of bountiful bread that is the quality of hospitality, the cloud of spirituality that always hovered over her home and the fact that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Unintended consequences are well-known and ubiquitous regarding many areas of human life. It is especially true regarding legislative matters which are adopted by parliaments and congresses. No matter how carefully the law is adopted and written, there always are results that are not foreseen in that piece of legislation. Most of the time these consequences are unfortunately of a negative...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

INHERITANCE AND LEGACY

The nature of people, especially as we grow older, is to think about our influence on the future, when we are freed from the bondage of the challenges and problems of this world. We all wish to live beyond the grave; that is part of our innate drive for immortality and eternity. Many try as hard as they can to believe that this world is all that we will experience and that, therefore, it is all...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYERA 5781

One of the main issues in this week's Torah reading is the relationship between Yishmael and Yitzchak. Yishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, while Yitzchak is the son of Abraham and Sarah. It is common knowledge that, as the half-brothers grow up together, the differences between them in character, spirituality, ambition, and behavior become increasingly apparent. Sarah notices that Yishmael...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA 5781

We are aware that one of the ten tests and challenges that confront our father Abraham is the Almighty's commandment to Abraham that forms the name of this week's Torah reading. Abraham is directed to, ‘go, for your sake,’ leave the comforts and familiar surroundings of your home and society, and to take a journey into a strange and unknown land. According to Chassidic tradition, this...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

A TALE OF TWO WEDDINGS

Almost a quarter of a century ago when I first settled permanently here in Jerusalem, I was invited to a wedding of a distant cousin of mine whom I had never really met but somehow he had determined that we were related. I always had a strong sense of family and even though I knew that I would not know anyone attending that wedding – not even my distant cousin whom I would not be able to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Elaine Gilbert

LOCKDOWN FEVER

In the good old days when a person was isolated and alone for a period of time in one's own home, the common expression was that one was suffering from cabin fever. Due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effect upon society, many countries including Israel have enforced stay-at-home lockdowns in an attempt to combat the contagious nature of the disease. There is great debate raging in all the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert