Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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

WRITER’S BLOCK

Human beings who regularly put pen to paper or, in the case of modern society, finger to keyboard or voice to dictating computer programs, are faced with the often-recurring problem of writer’s block. In my experience, writer’s block occurs in two different formats, both of which are equally annoying, frustrating, and challenging. One form of writer's block is that the writer simply has no...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DEVARIM

Our great teacher Moshe begins his final oration to the Jewish people in this week's Torah portion. He reviews for them the history of his stewardship of the Jewish people over the past 40 years. He recounts the miracles and tragedies that befell the Jewish people, from the Exodus from Egypt until the very day that they now stand at the banks of the river Jordan preparing to enter the land of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT – MAASEI

This week's Torah reading begins with our teacher Moshe calling together the heads of the tribes of Israel, and relating to them the laws of the Torah regarding vows, promises, commitments and verbal speech. On the surface, there seems to be no reason why these laws should especially be given through the offices and conduct of the heads of the tribes of Israel. These laws apply to all Jews, and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ROYALTY

The Talmud recommends that we should make every attempt to view royalty along with its pomp and circumstances whenever we can. The Talmud explains that by seeing and visualizing the honor and deference paid to human beings of royalty, we can then gain a glimpse of understanding regarding the honor and deference that we should pay to the royalty of heaven itself. I remember that when Queen...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

The Torah traces the lineage of Pinchas back to his grandfather Aaron. At first glance, there are no more disparate characters that appear to us in the Torah's narrative. Aaron is gentle and kind, compromising and seeking peace between differing people and factions, noble in character and beloved by all of Israel. When Aaron passes from the world, the entire Jewish people without exception...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IMPLOSION

Even a cursory review of world history allows the reader to realize that great and mighty countries and empires fall not necessarily because of outside pressures, but because of the implosion of the society itself. Rome ruled the world for over five centuries, and, at the height of its power, it succumbed to barbaric tribes. The breakup and disintegration of the Empire came as Rome was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALAK

The prophet Bilaam experiences a conversation from Heaven. The conversation, as the Torah records for us, begins with Heaven asking Bilaam who were the people who came to visit? Isn't that a strange question? First, if Heaven knows that people came to visit him, it is also aware who those people were. And why should Heaven even bother to ask? Is this germane to the central issue as to whether...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Isolation

When I returned to my home in Jerusalem from a three-month long sojourn with my children in the United States, I observed a self-imposed quarantine of fourteen days in my home. I discovered that isolation from personal contact with other human beings is truly a form of mental and physical distress. I fully understand now why house arrest, let alone solitary confinement, are viewed by criminal...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ALL ABOUT THE EXPERTS

Slowly over my lifetime, I have come to be a skeptic about what experts tell me. I have lived long enough to know that what the experts told me 20 or 30 years ago about what was going to happen regarding the economy, political matters, international conflict, regarding almost everything, have been proven to be, in the main, false and misleading. Of course, no one ever calls the experts to task....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert