Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Elections

Both in the United States and Israel elections have become the main topic of conversation and interest. In the United States, it is the midterm congressional elections that have dominated the public conversation. Needless to say, the conversation has been vitriolic and bitter and the continuing lack of civility in American political life remains troubling to many, though it is hardly unexpected....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYEITZEI

Our father Jacob was a very strong and physically powerful person. We read of his physical prowess in his previous encounter with the shepherds of Haran and later of his wrestling match with the angel of Esav, at the river of Yaabok. His sons, though young in years, are also very powerful and strong physically and filled with self-confidence, without fear of confronting dangerous enemies. We will...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FAME

As the saying goes, fame is fleeting. However, most humans enjoy it when it exists. The problem with fame is that it is very temporary, fickle and has a very short shelf life. However, while it lasts it is intoxicating and delectable. The famous anecdote about the politician who learns that an investigative article regarding his nefarious behavior was about to be published in the local newspaper,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOLDOT

In the competition between the brothers Esau and Jacob, Esau originally downplays any long-range view of the situation. He demands immediate gratification and is therefore more than willing to relinquish his birthright – which is only a long-range asset – in favor of an immediate bowl of hot lentils. As the Torah dutifully records for us in this week's reading, Esau will come to regret this...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH

The loss of one’s beloved spouse, especially after many years and decades of marriage and shared life, is always a traumatic and shattering blow. Those of us, who unfortunately have also experienced this occurrence of Avraham’s life in our own lives can testify as to the emotional damage and even physical harm that this sad experience can occasion. We see from the life of our father Jacob...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

IGNORING REALITIES

The Jewish people are by their very nature an optimistic and hopeful people. We believe that things will get better and that we, in the world at large, really can and will have a rosier future no matter how dismal and discouraging current affairs may be. I have always regarded myself as an optimist and since, in my lifetime, I have seen many great miracles and accomplishments, I have always felt...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYERA

One of the more salient lessons that we derive from this week's Torah reading regarding Abraham and Isaac is the emphasis that the Torah places on the fact that they went together to ascend to the mountain of Moriah. The hallmark of Jewish life over its long history has been the continuity and bond between generations. Every generation differs in many aspects from the generation that preceded...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A BABY IN THE HOUSE

Over the recent holiday of Succot, my great grandson Zev came to Israel and stayed with me in my home for almost two weeks. Since he is only six months old he naturally brought his parents with him, also very dear to me but certainly not as cute as Zev. It has been many years since I had such a young baby reside with me for that length of time. I had forgotten the wonders that accompany a baby...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA

The pace of the narrative of the Torah abruptly changes with the events described in this week’s reading. Until now the Torah has dealt with large periods of time and many many generations and different numbers of human beings and nations. It concerns itself apparently with a broad overview of the origins of human civilization and of the formation of societies, tribes and nations. Its...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOACH

The opening sections of the Torah with which we are currently engaged in studying, deal with one of the central problems of human existence and that is the ability to cope with tragedy, disappointment and frustration. The adjustment of human beings to being driven out of the Garden of Eden is really the entire story of human civilization and of its very bleak moments. This week we read of the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein