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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NASO

When the Torah describes the count of the tribe of Levi, at the onset of this week’s reading, it uses the expression “raise the head of the tribe of Levi.” At first glance this is a strange way of to present the matter. The Torah should say directly, “count the tribe of Levi.” By using the expression “raise the head” the Torah communicates to us a subtle but vital lesson. And that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Bamidbar

This section of the Torah is entitled, Bamidbar, in the desert. It is hard for us to imagine, though it may be less hard in our current situation than it was before we were put into quarantine, how the Jewish people lived in the desert for four decades. Since they had no gainful occupations and they had no struggle to feed themselves for the miraculous bread from heaven fell and the well of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Shavuos – The Book of Ruth

Every biblical narrative has at its heart a main character, a hero or heroine. Even though the book and the scroll of Ruth is named for her, the true main character and heroine of the story is Naomi. This is confirmed in the book itself when the prophet Samuel, the author of the book, relates that when Ruth gave birth to Oved, the women of Bethlehem declared; “A male child has been born to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Long Lost Relatives

Because of the increased use of Zoom over the past months, people have been listening to my lectures who otherwise would have been deprived of that great benefit since they do not live in the Rechavia section of Jerusalem. Because of this, as well, I have discovered relatives that I never knew existed and with whom I have had no connection. The discovery of long-lost relatives always comes...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

Behar – Bechukotai

How much is a human being worth? In the Torah reading of this week, the value of a person is pledged to the temple in terms of a scale measured in money. Now, obviously the Torah does not mean that we are to judge a human being's value this way. The worth of a human being is inestimable, and no two people are the same. Their value will be dependent upon circumstances and their life experiences....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Emor

This week's Torah reading begins with a rather detailed instruction sheet for the children of Aaron, the priests of Israel. The Torah describes for us the limitations that were placed upon them in order to guarantee that their service would be in purity and in holiness. Aspects of this instruction are still enforced today. Those who are of the priestly clan observe them rigidly even if, in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

These are the times…

At the low point of American fortunes in the Revolutionary War against England, the American army wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was one of the most bitter winters in recorded history, not only weather-wise, but in all other respects for the ragged army of George Washington. He was down to about 3,000 troops. The British had 10,000 troops in New Jersey plus 6,000 mercenaries,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

Achrei Mot - Kedoshim

The death of the two sons of Aaron remain one of the great mysteries that the Torah presents to us. The Talmud and Midrash have advanced several ideas as to why such a tragedy occurred and it may seem to a certain extent it was self-inflicted. The reasons for their failures are listed - they had drunk too much wine, they never intended to marry and father a family and they wanted their elders to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow zt”l

A wonderful person whom I knew for the past half century, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, passed away recently from the plague of the Coronavirus. He was better known as the Novominsker Rebbe. He was a person of many talents and of wide perspective. In our Jewish world today, such a person is becoming exceedingly rare. There are not many people like him who were able to bridge different groups and who...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Boredom

One of the effects of being cooped up in one's home for weeks on end, which is the situation for many if not most of us over the past month, is the fact that sooner or later it becomes very boring. Boring is a curse for rabbis, teachers, lecturers, and unfortunately for students as well. There is no comment more devastating to someone who has made a presentation, to say to that person, "I was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein