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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

HALF BIRTHDAYS

I have long noted that when one speaks to small children and asks them their age they will often answer in terms of half birthdays. They will say that they are four and a half or five and a half years old. This is because when we are very young we are anxious to become older and to possess the enticing fruit of privileges granted to children as they advance in years. This idea of half birthdays...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BERESHITH

There is a tendency to look at the narrative that appears in this first portion of the Torah as being a description of the past – the story of the beginnings of creation, the planet and universe and of the story of civilization. However, we are taught in the traditions of Judaism that the Lord, so to speak, creates our universe and world anew each day. Thus, the narrative contained in this...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GENERATIONS OF DEPENDENCE AND POVERTY

One of the saddest and most disturbing aspects in much of our society is the continuity of dependence and poverty within families from one generation to the next. As a Rabbi, I receive many requests to help the needy on a regular and constant basis. Within my limited abilities, I do what I can or at least what I think I can. Some years ago, there was a young woman who came to me and asked if...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUKKOT

Living here in Israel allows one to gain a deeper appreciation of the holidays of the Jewish calendar. In their deepest sense, they were all meant to be observed here in Israel. Perhaps that is what our rabbis intended when they cryptically said that the observance of the Commandments of the Torah that the Jewish people have fulfilled and continue to practice in the Diaspora is really a training...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAAZINU

All Jewish history, past, present and future, is on parade before our eyes and ears in this final section of the great oration of Moshe to the Jewish people before his passing. The greatness and pettiness, the holiness and decadence of the people are in the immortal words of this week’s Torah reading. But it is the first word of that reading that conveys the entire idea of Moshe’s message. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE ZEALOTS AMONG US

A great many decades ago when I was yet the student in my beloved yeshiva on the old west side of Chicago, I remember that one of my great teachers told us an anecdote that points to an eternal truth regarding people and their personal ideologies and beliefs. He said that both the cat and the owner of the house are opposed to rats and mice. The difference however is that the owner of the house...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYELECH

Moshe, our great teacher and leader, the greatest of all prophets and the lawgiver of the Torah to Israel and the world, remains in his role as the greatest teacher even on his last day at on earth. And the words of Moshe, as recorded for us in this week’s Torah reading, are probably some of the strongest words of prophecy that exist in the Holy Scriptures. Moshe, like all great teachers,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LEARNING HOW TO LOSE

I recently read an article that featured an interview with a famous and gifted American baseball player. Most athletes when they are questioned or interviewed by the media respond almost like robots with clichés and nice-sounding phrases, which mean absolutely nothing. This athlete in the interview was asked what great benefit he derived from his career in baseball. Instead of the usual answer...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM

After centuries of enslavement in Egypt and decades of wandering in a trackless and forbidding desert, our teacher Moshe points out the obvious. Namely, that the Jewish people are still standing strong and resilient and about to embark on the great adventure of creating Jewish national sovereignty in the land of Israel. However, often in life the obvious is not so obvious and we are unable to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AFTER OSLO

A most controversial anniversary was marked here in Israel this month. A quarter of a century ago Israel signed the Oslo agreements establishing the Palestinian Authority and giving it control over millions of people and a large swath of territory in the land of Israel. This anniversary was marked in almost complete silence here in Israel. The hopes and optimism engendered by the Oslo...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein