Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

TAKING A SHOT

There is no doubt that in certain matters and issues the state of Israel is really on the cutting edge of progress and achievement. Our health system here in Israel is burdened by a great deal of bureaucracy, but when the health system and the government agree that it should work quickly and efficiently on behalf of those who are in need, it does so. When the government announced that the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHEMOT

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely scenario than the one described for us in the Torah as to the process of redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery. We can readily understand a personality of holiness and tranquility such as Aaron becoming the hero and redeemer of the holy people of Israel. We could also easily understand that the redemption could come from negotiations and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYECHI

At the end of the book of Bereshith, as we read in this week's Torah reading, there is little warning as to what the very next Torah reading will discuss and describe. The transition, from the benign and idyllic last years of the life of our father Jacob, is a harsh reality of servitude and slavery visited upon his descendants. From the biblical narrative, it appears to have been sudden and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

STORIES

One of the most fundamental lessons in public speaking is the ability, or rather the necessity, of the speaker to tell a story to illustrate the message that is being delivered. People remember stories much longer and with much greater nostalgia than learned interpretations and abstract thoughts and ideas. And if the story is somehow humorous – and the only humor that is acceptable in such...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABBAT SHOES

When I was growing up in Chicago, a long time ago, most Jewish families were still living under the shadow of the Depression. As such, when I was young, I always had only one pair of shoes, which I wore on weekdays, Shabbat, holidays, and even special family occasions, until they wore out. Then, I got another pair of shoes. By the time that my children were born and required shoes, the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYIGASH 5781

The brothers and Joseph finally meet each other head-on, without pretense and subterfuge. When Joseph reveals himself to the brothers, the veil of secrecy, role-playing, distrust, and enmity is ripped away. The dreams that apparently were the cause of this gripping family drama now reappear in their stark and simple meaning. The sheaves of grain are the brothers and the constellation of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAVDALAH

At the conclusion of the Sabbath the rabbis ordained an additional short service to mark the end of the holy Sabbath and the beginning of the weekday. I have always been emotionally affected by this service. It is the genius of Judaism to be able to differentiate between the holy and the mundane, between what is special and unique, and what is essentially ordinary and usual. In fact, it was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MIKETZ 5781

The dreams of Joseph are actualized in this week's Torah reading. Miracles, though hidden, are somewhat natural events, and in this instance occur to facilitate this realization of the dreams of Joseph. We all dream, but not all dreams are miraculous per se. The great Pharaoh of Egypt also had dreams. The fact that he dreamt of fat cows and lean cows is also understandable, for that was the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHANUKAH 5781

As we know, it is our tradition to recite the Hallel service on all eight days of the festival of Chanuka. However, on the great festival day of Purim, a day which also celebrates the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from disaster and extinction, the Hallel service is omitted from prayers recited on that day. The rabbis of the Talmud, commenting upon this difference between these...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYESHEV 5781

This week's Torah reading begins with a simple statement that our father Yaakov settled in the land where his father had lived his entire life – the land of Canaan. Why is it so important that the Torah should bother to mention that this land was the land of Canaan? It seems obvious that we know from previous chapters where the family of Yaakov lived, and that it was the land of Canaan that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein