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KI TETZEI 5780

The Torah always views life as a struggle, a conflict between the various natures that exist within each human being, a fight between rational good and instinctive evil. Rashi points out in his commentary to this week's Torah reading, that the Torah is addressing itself directly to the evil instinct that lies within all of us and warns us. Even if we do not behave in an illegal manner, unpleasant...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ALL ZOOMED OUT

Like many other rabbis and teachers, I have been delivering lectures and teaching Torah to a mostly unseen audience via the technological wonder called Zoom. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the mandatory governmental ordered lockdowns and assorted prohibitions regarding gathering in public places, especially synagogues, I have had little choice in the matter. I believe that I have...

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In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SPIRITUAL FALLOUT

The current Corona epidemic has created many types of victims in its wake. Tragically, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have died from the effects of the virus, out of the millions of others, really tens if not hundreds of millions of others, who contracted the disease. Thank God, over 90% of those who were sick have recovered and even though there is some anecdotal...

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In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM 5780

It can be said that the Torah is in favor of law and order. In this week's reading, the Torah prescribes a system of judges, courts, and police. The Torah apparently takes it for granted that no society can really function without these institutions of law and protection. The Torah warns us that these institutions must be ones of righteousness, fairness, and even altruism, but they must exist...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

To Moshe, life choices are clear and self-evident. He tells the Jewish people to merely look, and they will see the difference between life and death, good and evil, eternity and time-burdened irrelevance. He implores the Jewish people to use their common sense, to pay attention to the experiences over the past 40 years in the desert, and their story. Then, they will be able to clearly see their...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

COMMON SENSE

One of the problems of the concept of common sense is that it is really an oxymoron. Sense is anything but common in human affairs and amongst human beings. King Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, devotes much of its contents explaining that fools in this world far outnumber those that are wise and sensible. There are many things in life that should be self-evident to anyone that bothers to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEWISH PRIVILEGE

Anti-Semitism is an old and pernicious disease, for which much of mankind has never found an adequate antidote or cure. It reappears in every generation, and almost in every clime and country. However, like many other deadly viruses, it constantly mutates, assuming different ideologies, slogans, and activities in each different instance. But its goal is always the same – to demonize the Jewish...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EKEV

The word that this week's Torah reading derives its name from is Ekev. There are many subtle nuances that exist within this short three letter Hebrew word. Our teacher Rashi uses a midrashic interpretation that connects the word to the Hebrew noun which refers to the heel of a person. He indicates that there are important considerations in Torah and life that people somehow step upon with their...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DEMONSTRATIONS

Over the past few weeks, the neighborhood that I live in here in Jerusalem, Rechavia, has been subjected to almost nightly demonstrations. The demonstrators gather across from the house of the Prime Minister of Israel, and proceed to make a lot of noise, beat drums, block traffic, and generally make one aware of their presence. However, I am not really clear as to what they are demonstrating for....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VA-ETCHANAN

The Shabbat immediately after the sad fast day of 9 Av is called Shabbat Nachamu – the Shabbat of comfort and consolation. This Shabbat draws its name from the first two words of the prophet Yeshayahu, and this series of prophetic readings continues for seven weeks with a message of hope and contentment. The prophetic readings leading up to the ninth of Av were only three in number, but...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein