Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

MEMORIES AND REGRETS

This month of June commemorates the forty-fifth anniversary of the Six Day War, an event that changed Israeli and Jewish in myriad ways. Those of us who lived through those fateful and fearsome days, we recall the foreboding and mental and emotional depression that gripped the Jewish world for the three weeks leading up to the war itself. The Arabs proclaimed that they would end the State...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

B’HALOTCHA

The Torah instructs Aharon and through him all of his successors, the High Priests of Israel that when lighting the great menorah one should make certain that the six outside lamps should all face into the center lamp. There are various opinions amongst the commentators as to how this was to be accomplished. The wicks were bent inwards or perhaps the lamps themselves were tilted towards the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Unity

I believe that there is a great deal of difference between unity and conformity. Unity signifies a basic agreement upon principles, accepted values and a willingness to cooperate with others in spite of differences of opinion regarding particular details, tactics and quirks of personality. Conformity, on the other hand, demands complete agreement on details and an acceptance of outside authority...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LEADERSHIP

All societies require leadership and guidance in order to function correctly and efficiently. Though we all state that we crave less intrusive government in our affairs it has become patently obvious that anarchy is even a worse state of affairs. In Jewish life there existed in both First and Second Temple times two parallel systems of leading and governing the people. One was the temporal...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NASSO

The longest parsha of the Torah is the parsha of Nasso, which we read publicly this Shabat. A great part of its length is due to the repetition of the offerings and gifts of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel at the dedication of the Mishkan. Since each one of the twelve leaders brought the identical offering to the occasion and, furthermore, since the Torah itself at the conclusion of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

THE BOOK OF RUTH

Among the customs that accompany the holiday of Shavuot, the public reading of the book of Ruth is personally one of my favorites. The beauty and simplicity of language, the conciseness and majesty of its narrative and the great moral lessons that are embedded in its four short chapters have always fascinated me. There is much that we and our current society can learn and apply from the ideas...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR

The book of Bamidbar is perhaps one of the saddest, so to speak, of all of the Holy Scriptures. Whereas the book of Shemot, which records for us the sin of the Golden Calf also gives us pause, it concludes with the final construction of the Mishkan and God’s Presence, so to speak, resting within the encampment of Israel. But the book of Bamidbar, which begins on a high note of numerical...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

B’CHUKOTAI

The book of Vayikra opened on a very high and positive note. Moshe is the recipient of Divine revelation and serves as the High priest of the Mishkan during its first week of its dedication. His brother Aharon is appointed as the permanent High Priest and the children and the descendants of Aharon remain the special family of kohanim throughout the ages of Jewish history. After the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

B'HAR

One of the overriding themes that is reflected in this week’s parsha is the impermanence of all human ownership, reflected in its accompanying agreements and contracts. The Torah specifically states that property in the Land of Israel cannot be sold in perpetuity. The laws of shemitta and yovel preclude permanent sales of land, and as far as houses in walled cities are concerned the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MY UNSEEN MINYAN

Last week for various reasons, none of which were connected to my piety, I arrived at the synagogue for the morning prayers service very early – so early in fact that I was the one who unlocked the gates of the synagogue for entry. As I sat there alone in the synagogue waiting for the rest of our faithful to arrive, I looked around the synagogue room. In my mind’s eye I was no longer alone...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein