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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

IT IS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT

The tendency to always blame someone else for one’s own shortcomings is a well-known and well-practiced human trait. In our current society, where this trait has been taken to new heights of absurdity, the criminal is never guilty. Rather, it is the societal conditions that exist that force the criminal to behave as he or she does that is to blame. It is the abused and not the abuser that is...

Posted in:
Jewish Thought
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EMOR

We can all agree that the priestly family of Aharon has always had a special rank and position within the Jewish people. Having been chosen to represent God to the Jewish people and the Jewish people to God, so to speak, they had a decisive role of influence within Jewish life. Because of this the Torah held them to a higher standard of pedigree and behavior than the rest of the Jewish people. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ACHREI - KEDOSHIM

The direct message of these two parshiyot is clear: In order to live a meaningful life that contains within it the necessary elements of spiritual sanctity one must limit one’s desires and physical behavior patterns. The Torah does not award accolades for great intellectual or social achievements if they are unfortunately accompanied by uninhibited physical dissolute behavior. It is not only...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TAZRIA – METZORA

One of the more interesting points to note in this week’s parhsiyot is the fact that the Torah places the entire determination of purity or impurity in the decision making process of the kohein – the priest before whom the afflicted person appears. He alone decides the matter of the person’s fate. And even though the Torah does describe for the kohein the standards and methods of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ISRAEL AT SIXTY-FOUR

This week will mark the sixty fourth anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. That fact by itself represents a monumental achievement. There were great people in the Jewish world who were skeptical of the entire enterprise. There were those who were convinced that the state somehow would not survive for more than fifteen years let alone fifty. Ringed by violent enemies,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WHY?

These are just random thoughts that I am pondering while I am recovering from the Pesach food binge and attempting to return to the post holiday normalcy of our every day existence. The apocryphal story is told of the professor at a very prestigious university who was administering an exam in philosophy to his doctoral level students. He announced that there would be only one question on the exam...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHMINI

The parsha deals with the eighth day of the dedication of the Mishkan. In general it can be stated that the eighth day after any event can be a time of challenge. The eighth day of life is the day of circumcision of male Jewish children. The eighth day – the day after the week of rejoicing of a young newly married couple - was and is the day when real married life with all of its joys and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE FIFTH SON

Many of us are aware that there is a detailed discussion amongst the commentators to the Seder night Hagadah regarding the possibility of a fifth cup of wine as part of the Seder service. Some are of the opinion that the cup of wine that is designated as the Cup of Eliyahu serves as this fifth cup. Be that as it may, I wish to discuss another foursome that in our time may have developed into a...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TZAV

The basis for observance of mitzvoth and ritual lies in the word tzav. The Torah does not present us with many options when it comes to observing God’s explicit commandments. Before the performance of a mitzvah, we are to recite a blessing that clearly states asher tzivanu – that we have been commanded and instructed to perform this mitzvah. We naturally retain our free will as to whether...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WHY MURDERERS?

As part of my long time nostalgia for my home town, Chicago, which I left almost a half century ago, I read a Chicago newspaper on my computer screen almost daily. The paper reports four to five murders daily. I am astounded by the casualness of the report of such killings. Here in Israel we are unfortunately not free of such violence though at a much more infrequent level. Very recently we are...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein