Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYECHI

The traditional rabbinic approach as to why this portion of the Torah is the titled “vayechi Yaakov” even though the subject matter of this Torah portion concerns itself with the death of Yaakov is that as long as his descendants – the Jewish people – are alive and functioning, then Yaakov is still considered to be alive. The message here is one of immortality and continuity, family...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE ENDING REVEALS ALL

One of the verses of our prayers on the eve of the Sabbath states that the end of the action reveals the original thought in the matter. Naturally the prayer refers to God and the process of creation as it is revealed throughout the week and through the ages. The Jewish people have been struck by the adverse, and nevertheless collectively applied it to many situations in life. In many...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH

As the dramatic story of Joseph and his brothers comes to its climax in this week’s Torah reading, one is struck by the comparison between Judah and Joseph, the main antagonists in this final act of the biblical narrative. Joseph is the righteous one, the person who lives by dreams, the one who resists temptation and pays a dear price for so doing. The brothers did him wrong, very wrong....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MIKETZ

It is obvious from the biblical narrative of this week's Torah reading that the brothers of Yoseph were determined not to see his dreams of dominance and greatness fulfilled. Even when they stood before him and faced him directly, they did not recognize him. They were committed not to recognize him as the prince of Egypt. It is extremely difficult to change the perspective and previous held...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHANUKAH

There probably is no other holiday on the Jewish calendar that has had as much material written about it than the Chanukah festival. There are many causes and reasons for this seeming anomaly of a relatively minor rabbinic holiday receiving so much attention. The fact that by the nature of the calendar it falls in the month of December, and especially this year when it actually coincides with the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYEISHEV

Modern writers and commentators have found the biblical narratives of the book of Bereshith irresistible in their penchant for psychoanalyzing people described there in terms of modern understanding and current correctness. In so doing they do a great disservice to Jewish tradition and present a distorted picture of the message that the Bible is attempting to convey. The narrative regarding...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CONSISTENCY

Consistency, like many other character traits in life that are primarily positive, can turn into a negative trait if carried to an extreme. We are all aware that consistency is essential to good parenting, meaningful education, business and commercial success, as well as to political and governmental stability. Consistency is not necessarily doing things by rote. It is rather the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

COLLEGE CAMPUSES

Recently there have appeared in a number of newspapers throughout the United States articles detailing the appalling anti-Semitism that exists currently on many American college campuses. American Jewish youth attend colleges and universities in greater proportion to their population than any other segment of the American public. It can be maintained that theoretically and proportionately...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYISHLACH

The prophet of Israel, describing what can unfortunately be characterized as the usual situation in Jewish life, states that it is comparable to one who flees from the lion and finds one's self in the embrace of a bear. Our father Jacob, who barely escapes from the treachery of Lavan, soon finds himself confronted by the deadly mob of his brother Eisav. Jacob, in his confrontation with Lavan,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYEITZEI

Yaakov is forced to flee from home and family because of the threat that his brother Eisav poses. He is informed by his mother that his brother, in a moment of jealousy, frustration and anger, threatened to kill him. Yaakov is no physical weakling; he is not the pale yeshiva student, the caricature of nineteenth century Haskalah literature. In fact, we see in this week's Torah reading the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein