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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

NOACH

After the destruction of civilization in the great flood a new generation arose and searched for a way to immortalize itself – so that their existence would withstand any new natural disasters. They gathered in the Tigris-Euphrates valley and there built the great city that would be called Nineveh. And to guarantee that their achievements would be forever remembered, they embarked on building...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BERESHEIS

There are many moral lessons that are derived from the story of creation as related to us in this parsha and also in next week’s parsha of Noach. One of the insights that I find most relevant and instructive has to do with the relationship of humankind to the animal kingdom and the rest of the natural world. According to Jewish tradition Adam and Chava and their immediate descendants were...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ZOT HABRACHA - BERESHITH

Because of the intricacies of the Jewish calendar, the end of the Torah – Zot Habracha – and the beginning of the Torah – Bereshith – follow each other in rapid succession this week. This is a timely reminder to us of the seamlessness of Torah – an understanding that will help us appreciate all of the Torah portions that we will hear and study in this new and blessed year. The rabbis of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HAAZINU

The special nature and all of the events of Jewish history are outlined for us in this week’s parsha. Ramban in the 13th century comments that anyone who can, so many centuries earlier, accurately foretell the later fate of a people is an exceptional prophet. Moshe certainly fits that description and test. And what more can we add to this phenomenon, now more than seven hundred-fifty years...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ROSH HASHANAH

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a reflective period in the Jewish calendar year. At one and the same time we look back at the accomplishments and failures of the past year and we also look forward to our lives and hoped for achievements in the coming good year now dawning upon us. The prayers of Rosh Hashanah represent this duality of outlook. They also represent the constants in our...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

NITZAVIM-VAYELECH

These final parshiyot of the Torah always coincide with the approaching end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. This is in line with the contents of these parshiyot which contain the review of Moshe’s career as the leader of Israel and of his life and achievements. So too does the end of the year demand of us a review, if not of our entire past life, at least a review and...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TAVO

The explicit descriptions of the disasters, personal and national, that make up a large potion of this week’s parsha raise certain issues. Why do Moshe and the Torah paint such a harsh and unforgiving picture of the Jewish future before the people? And if we expect people to glory in their Jewishness, is this the way to sell the product, so to speak? We all support the concept of truth in...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TEITZEI

The idea of the necessity of a fence on one’s roof and exposed staircases and high landings is a very logical and realistic one. The Torah itself advances this simple reasoning by stating that otherwise one may fall from that exposed area with painful if not tragic consequences. Halacha and practicality indicate that not everyone is obligated in this mitzvah and that there are physical...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFTIM

This week’s parsha emphasizes, albeit in an indirect fashion, the litigatous nature of human society and the requirement for the appointment of judges to decide disputes and for police to enforce those decisions. A perfect world needs no judges or courts, police or bailiffs. Our very imperfect world cannot reasonably hope to function and exist in their absence. Law and order are the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EIH

In this week’s parsha the Torah continues with the theme that runs through the previous parshiyot of Dvarim, that we are always faced with stark choices in life – either blessings or curses, good or evil. The words of the Torah seemingly offer little option for middle ground on these basic issues of belief and behavior. Yet, we are all aware that the events in life are rarely, if ever, all or...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein