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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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

CHUKAT

The Jewish people find themselves in great difficulty after the death of the prophetess Miriam. Her miraculous well had sustained them with water during their long sojourn in the desert of Sinai. And now that she was no longer alive, this water, so identified with her being, also disappeared from their midst. They complain to Moshe and clamored for water. People can go on for days without solid...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

My Orchid Plant Revisited

Some time ago I wrote a short essay about my orchid plant and its wondrous ability to revive itself and flower after months of being dormant. Recently when I was in house quarantine upon returning to Jerusalem, I again noticed that the orchid plant in my kitchen rejuvenated – I believe for the third time- and was flowering beautifully. When one is confined for fourteen days, one notices such...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

KORACH

There are always differences within a team regarding the role and efficacy of leadership and leaders. All leaders are subject to criticism and second guessing. It comes with the job and there is no escaping it. Nevertheless, when the criticism descends to the level of personal abuse, and when it is obviously motivated by jealousy and other susceptible causes, then the criticism crosses the line...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

The Eternal Question

As the corona pandemic hopefully wanes, and as we attempt to return to some sort of normalcy and emerge from our isolation, I have reflected on the fact that there is an enormous theological question raised by the events of the past few months. This theological question has always existed and has always been discussed in Jewish life and by Jewish scholars. But this question has never been...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Shlach 5780

The Land of Israel has always been a challenge to the People of Israel. There are many reasons for this, both obvious and subtle. The Land of Israel plays a central role in Judaism, in Jewish life, within its laws and world view. Yet, for a great part of Jewish history, the Jewish People itself was absent from the Land of Israel. Because of this absence, the Land of Israel was not a reality in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

Commentary on Zoom

I have been conducting classes and lectures on Zoom for about three months now. I admit that Zoom is a great creation and that it enabled many of us to remain connected one to another, and to be able to study together. However, as with all good things in life, like chocolate and ice cream, they have their limitations and perhaps should only be done in moderation. I find it quite difficult to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

Beha'alotcha

In this week’s Torah reading we hear an oft repeated refrain uttered by many in the generation that found itself in the desert of Sinai. They said that we want to return to Egypt. The present is too difficult, and the future is too uncertain so let us go home to Egypt which we were familiar with and where we knew what to expect. All human beings fear uncertainty. The future is always...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein