Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

GREAT ISSUES. PERSONAL MOTIVES

I rarely if ever write about politics per se. All politics is messy and borders upon reviewing the worst instincts that exist within human behavior. I am not interested in washing dirty linen in public, and though I believe in democracy and its institutions and procedures, I am oftentimes unable to reconcile myself to the manner in which democratic elections or the legislative and executive...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHALOTCHA

In many respects this is the saddest chapter that appears in the Torah. The Jewish people, having successfully been released from Egyptian slavery and arriving at Mount Sinai and accepting the sacredness of God's Torah, they then embark on the building of the Tabernacle. They are then able to successfully complete that project and are ready to undertake the final mission that they are charged...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHAVUOT

This holiday was marked in Temple times by bringing the first fruits of the new crops of the new agricultural year as an offering. However, during our times, when the Temple service is not performed, there is no single commandment that applies to this holiday. Therefore, the Jewish people, in their love for the holidays of the year, have created customs that accompany this holiday even if they...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

NASSO

The Torah reading this week begins with a commandment to Moshe to count the Levites, especially the family of Gershon. The Hebrew words that are used to make this count, literally translated, mean “raise the head” of the family of Gershon, who are an important section of the tribe of the Levites. There are many different interpretations as to why the Torah chose to use this formulation of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

AIR CONDITIONING

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the major technological improvements that we benefit from in our modern world is air-conditioning. There are great areas of the world that were previously almost uninhabitable because of the heat of their climate but that today are thriving large cities simply because the homes, offices, factories and automobiles operating in those high heat areas are now...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR

Population numbers have always meant a great deal in human history. We do not find tribes or influential societies that were composed only of a very small number of people. All the great tribes in the ancient and modern world were built on large populations that would be able to fuel the economy of the Empire and provide sufficient numbers of soldiers for its armies. Naturally the exception...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GOLDEN SILENCE

I have often written in the past about the inestimable value of the virtue of silence. The Talmud in its eternal wisdom values silence as being twice the worth of even the wisest of speech. Now I realize that I myself am violating this sublime rule by writing, which is a form of speech. But then I feel that the subject is worthy of note and reinforcement and more than necessary in our current...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Bechukotai

The final portion of this third book of the Torah contains an ominous tone. This is because of the vivid description of evil events that will befall the Jewish people when they desert their Godly mission and sink to the level of the societies that surround and outnumber them. The Torah promises us that such behavior and attitudes will surely lead to disaster, exile and persecution from the very...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

STYLES AND FASHIONS

Though the holiday of Purim is long behind us in the calendar year it made an indelible impression upon me and taught me a lesson that I am reminded of even now. In our synagogue on Purim the congregants were dressed up in various costumes and headgear. Some of our old military veterans wore their military uniforms that, amazingly enough, still fit. Other people had outlandish costumes ranging...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHAR

This week's Torah reading seems to emphasize that the granting of the Torah to Moshe, and through him to Israel generally, took place at the Mountain of Sinai. Since the Torah does not deal with incidental geographic details, this emphasis regarding the mountain bears study and analysis. Mountain climbing is a sport for the hardy of spirit and the physically fit. However most of us are perfectly...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein