Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

OPTIMISM

One of the hallmark traits of Judaism is a spirit of optimism. Since oftentimes optimism flies in the face of reality and the factual situations we face, like all human traits, it is to be applied judiciously, in moderation and with a great deal of good common sense. Nevertheless, optimism is a permanent state of mind. Even in dark moments when our optimistic mood and hopes are dashed, optimism...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LECH LECHA

It is interesting to note that the Torah in its opening chapters deals with the lives of individuals with a seemingly very narrow focus. It portrays general society for us and tells us of the events that led up to the cataclysmic flood that destroys most of humanity, but even then, the Torah focuses on the lives of an individual, Noah and his family. This pattern continues in this week's reading...

Posted in:
Sabbath/ Holidays
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOACH

The Torah, in this week's reading, describes the rainbow as becoming the symbol of God's covenant with the humankind, that the world will not be destroyed by another flood. The appearance of the rainbow in the narrative of Noach and his emergence from the ark does not mean that the rainbow was created then. According to rabbinic tradition and the unchanging laws of nature, the rainbow existed...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HOME COOKING

Over the recent holiday of Sukkot two of my grandsons spent the joyous holiday with me in my home. They are very talented young men and among their many gifts, they fancy themselves to be very good cooks, if not even in the category of chefs. They made me solemnly promise that I would not order any food for the holidays from my usual suppliers and that they would purchase all the necessary raw...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BERESHITH

The Garden of Eden is portrayed for us as being the perfect place. Mortality had not yet entered the way of the world and our aged father and mother lived in an environment where everything was provided; food, shelter and freedom from external dangers. Yet, in this most idyllic of situations – one that we cannot begin to contemplate or imagine – temptation lurked even in this setting. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT LOOKS GOOD

We are all aware that looks can be quite deceiving. When the Torah describes for us the concept of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, it refers to it as being most desirous and pleasant in the eyes of our mother Eve. As we all know, this became the source of human mortality and the bitter sin that led to expulsion from Paradise. So, the lesson should be obvious that not everything that looks...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUKKOT

The holiday of Sukkot is a special and joyous one throughout the Jewish world wherever it is commemorated. But, here in the holy city of Jerusalem, it is uniquely joyous. Jerusalem is inundated with visitors who arrive here from every corner of the world and represent not only the variety of people that compose the Jewish people but also tens of thousands of people of other faiths and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAAZINU

Our great teacher Moshe, in his concluding hymn regarding the future of the Jewish people, calls as his witnesses heaven and earth. These witnesses are, in human terms, eternal and omnipresent. They will always be there to testify that Moshe concluded a binding covenant between God and Israel, and that this covenant is a symbol of eternity and destiny. Heaven and earth represent the physical...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEING GOOD

We are currently in a period of repentance and thoughtful analysis of our lives and deeds. We tend to think this applies to our behavior and actions, to what we have or haven’t done, and to pledge ourselves to better conduct. This is partially true, but I feel that there is a very important point that is especially crucial in current society and especially regarding the family today. We...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYELECH

The Torah reading of this week describes our great teacher and leader Moshe as ‘going,’ though the Torah does not indicate to what destination. This is an indication of the personality and life achievements of Moshe - a person who is constantly growing. He aspires to greatness and pursues this goal. Though he initially attempts to escape from the burden of leading the Jewish people and even...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein