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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

THE DAF YOMI PROJECT AND SIYUM

During the upcoming month, there will be worldwide commemorations and programs marking the conclusion of the almost seven-and-a-half-year cycle of studying one page each day of the Babylonian Talmud. The originator of this program was the famed Rabbi Meir Shapiro, a leader of Polish Orthodox Jewry in the interwar years of the twentieth century. Rabbi Shapiro was a member of the Polish Parliament...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYESHEV

In this great emotional drama that will consume the balance of the sections of this book of the Torah, we are witness to a very difficult family situation and the dynamic consequences that it creates. The Torah itself testifies to the love and favoritism that Jacob shows towards his son Joseph. We can well understand this relationship of Jacob to Joseph, since Joseph strongly resembled his...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Vayishlach

Our father Jacob and his family face two great crises that are recorded for us in this week’s Torah reading. The first is the long-awaited encounter with his jealous and dangerous brother, who decades later still smarts over the deal that he made in selling his birthright to Jacob. Jacob is aware that his brother has the potential to destroy him and his family, and he prepares three different...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOSING TIME

One of the many hazards of international travel is the change of time zones. This usually leads to what we commonly call jet lag. This can be very disconcerting and oftentimes require days and even weeks before its effect is completely dissipated. Having recently traveled back and forth from Israel to the United States I was acutely aware of the seven-hour time difference between the two...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYETZEI

Rashi quotes the well-known Rabbinic observation that the departure of a righteous person from a society is an indelible loss to the community. Now I do not want to sound like a heretic, God forbid, but for many years I was troubled by this statement. From my personal experience and observation of life, I did not always find this to be realistic and accurate. I have lived in many communities...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A Recovering News Junkie

Until recently I have been a news junkie my whole life. As a child growing up during World War II, and my parents being European-born with families in Europe and the land of Israel. during that dark period our home was constantly tuned to the radio for the latest news bulletins. One of my earliest memories is hearing the shrieks and rants of Hitler over the radio. As I grew up, I became addicted...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LEFTOVERS

Who is there amongst us that has not experienced the joy of eating leftovers? From time immemorial Jews have been eating Shabbat leftovers on Tuesday. The Talmud itself makes note of this fact by telling us the story of the Roman officer who so enjoyed a Shabbat meal on Shabbat that he had his chef prepare the same meal on Tuesday. However, he quickly realized that the taste was not quite the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOLDOT

Sibling rivalry is the name of the game. In fact, the entire book of Bereishis can be described as a narrative of sibling rivalry. We have Kayin and Hevel, Avraham and his nephew Lot, Yishmael and Yitzchak, Yaakov and Eisav and Yosef and his brothers. It is as though the Torah wishes to inform and impress upon us the true nature of human beings. I often think that that is what is meant...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH

It is very difficult to sum up the experiences, worth and influence of an individual purely in words. That is why many times at funerals people who hear eulogies of the deceased feel that somehow the words of the tribute really did not capture the essence of the individual being memorialized. In the Torah reading this week, Abraham is said to have eulogized his beloved wife Sarah. The Torah does...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

Auto Emancipation

In the late part of the nineteenth century, Dr. Leo Pinsker, one of the leading lights of the Lovers of Zion movement, wrote a book called Autoemancipation. The theme of the book was that the Jewish people should no longer wait for others to come to their aid and free them from the bondage of the long exile that they were still enduring, but rather that the Jews, by their own volition and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein