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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

These are the times…

At the low point of American fortunes in the Revolutionary War against England, the American army wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was one of the most bitter winters in recorded history, not only weather-wise, but in all other respects for the ragged army of George Washington. He was down to about 3,000 troops. The British had 10,000 troops in New Jersey plus 6,000 mercenaries,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

Achrei Mot - Kedoshim

The death of the two sons of Aaron remain one of the great mysteries that the Torah presents to us. The Talmud and Midrash have advanced several ideas as to why such a tragedy occurred and it may seem to a certain extent it was self-inflicted. The reasons for their failures are listed - they had drunk too much wine, they never intended to marry and father a family and they wanted their elders to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow zt”l

A wonderful person whom I knew for the past half century, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, passed away recently from the plague of the Coronavirus. He was better known as the Novominsker Rebbe. He was a person of many talents and of wide perspective. In our Jewish world today, such a person is becoming exceedingly rare. There are not many people like him who were able to bridge different groups and who...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Boredom

One of the effects of being cooped up in one's home for weeks on end, which is the situation for many if not most of us over the past month, is the fact that sooner or later it becomes very boring. Boring is a curse for rabbis, teachers, lecturers, and unfortunately for students as well. There is no comment more devastating to someone who has made a presentation, to say to that person, "I was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Tazria-Metzorah

This week's Torah portion deals with a mysterious, enigmatic, and unknown physical disease. Somehow this disease brings uncleanliness and defilement to the human body and is manifested in blotches of color which appear on the skin of the person. It can also affect inanimate objects such as bricks and wood in the house and the fabric of clothing and textiles. All of this is mysterious, and we...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Jews and Judaism

I have often quipped that one should never confuse Jews with Judaism. Jews are human beings, subject to all human failings, foibles, and various patterns of behavior and thinking that do not always coincide with the values and the true ideas of Judaism. Nevertheless, over the centuries, in the main, Jews and Judaism were attuned and aspired to the same beneficial conditions for society and for...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHEMINI

The death of the two sons of Aaron remains one of the great mysteries in Torah narrative. The Midrash and the commentators offer various explanations as to the cause of this tragedy. The sons did not want to marry, they had somehow drunk wine and were inebriated, as well as other faults ascribed to them. And since the work of the priests was so holy and delicate, their deaths occurred. However,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

TZAV

In this week’s Torah reading we are taught that the sons of Aaron, the priestly clan of Israel, were charged with the responsibility of keeping an eternal permanent flame burning on the sacrificial altar of the Temple. This miraculous flame appeared to form the image of a crouching lion on the top of that altar. This permanent flame was in addition to another permanent eternal light that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHABBAT HAGADOL

This Shabbat which immediately precedes Pesach is crowned with the title of Shabbat Hagadol – the Great Shabbat. Since every Shabbat is also crowned with greatness then why does this pre-Pesach Shabbat merit a special appellation? There is one basic principle that underlies all the many explanations. And that is that basically, without Shabbat there really can never be a truly meaningful...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

A Long Journey

I traveled to America last week in order to spend the holiday of Pesach with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Because of the troubles associated with the Coronavirus, it was very difficult to obtain a plane reservation. However, a number of resourceful people in Israel arranged a charter flight through El Al on behalf of yeshiva students and young women in Israeli seminaries....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein