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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYISHLACH

The long-awaited confrontation between the brothers Eisav and Yaakov occurs. At the onset Yaakov is quite concerned over the meeting. He fears that his brother, who is arriving with a band of 400 men, will undoubtedly intend to do him harm. And he knows that his brother is capable of slaughtering innocent women and children. There must have been a great feeling of relief that overcame Yaakov when...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BALANCE

As I thankfully and somewhat less then gracefully age, my sense of physical balance has weakened, gradually but inexorably. When one has imperfect physical balance one is markedly more prone to fall, and all falls carry unknown consequences with them. There are physical supports such as canes and walkers that are recommended for use and in many cases they are truly mandatory for safe living....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAYETZEI

Our father Yaakov now embarks on a long, tortuous journey that represents the story of his life. In recounting his story before Pharaoh, when he descended to live in Egypt, he was brutally frank in assessing his life: “My years compared to those of my ancestors have been few, and they have not been good ones.” From the onset, he swims in a sea of troubles. He is robbed by his nephew,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TOLDOT

Our father Avraham was, according to the Mishna in Avot, tested ten times and overcame all of them. It is interesting that most of the commentators that describe and enumerate these ten tests do not identify Avraham as being the son of Terach as one of these tests. One can easily think that this perhaps would have been one of the major tests in his lifetime. But the Torah takes into account a...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

ONE-HUNDRED YEARS OF COMMUNIST RULE

1917 was a year of momentous events for the world and for the Jewish people. It was the year when the Balfour Declaration was issued by Great Britain and the year of America’s entry into World War I. It was also the year that the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and created the first Communist government and society in the world. Communism was messianic vision incarnate. It was the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A CENTURY OF BALFOUR

In November 1917, amidst the then stalemate and endless carnage of the Great War –World War I – the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild in London offering official governmental support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. This letter has become enshrined in Jewish history as the Balfour Declaration. This was he first...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHAYEI SARAH

Avraham and Sarah have a loyal and devoted trustworthy servant named Eliezer. His abilities and nobility of character enable him to be entrusted with the most personal and sensitive of assignments and missions. His name has been used by Jewish families for thousands of years as an honorable name for their sons. In fact, our great teacher Moshe named his younger son Eliezer as a remembrance of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE VANISHING AMERICAN TRADITIONAL JEW

The Jewish community in the United States has changed dramatically over the last sixty years. A trip down nostalgia lane will reveal that the backbone of the Jewish community in the United States then was the traditional Jew. That Jew did not attend synagogue services often but was somehow vaguely familiar with the prayer service itself. He or she was not strictly observant of the laws of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYERA

There are many angels that walk amongst us in this world, unrecognized by others. Angels apparently adopt the coloration of the society into which their mission has taken them. The prophets of Israel describe in vivid detail the description of angels as they appear in heaven’s court. They have wings and many-faceted eyes. They are fiery and swift, fearsome and relentless. But when they are on...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

LECH LECHA

There is much comment and many different interpretations regarding the first two words of the second verse of this week’s Torah reading. The second word “lecha” – “for you” seems to be somewhat redundant in the construction of the sentence. Rashi therefore interprets it to mean “for your benefit and good.” The Lord instructs Abraham to leave his homeland and family located in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein