Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

DISTRACTIONS AND DIVERSIONS

We are all aware that our best laid plans and visions of our future are upset when life itself intervenes. We are always blindsided by unforeseen events. We are prone to be distracted and diverted by rather petty, small and even inconsequential events. The great issues that face and even bedevil the Jewish people and the Jewish state rarely receive the attention that they obviously deserve. A...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

KI TAVO

Moshe describes in horrid detail the ravages of the disaster that will befall the Jewish people towards the end of their long exile from their homeland. We no longer have to accept the descriptions outlined in the words of Moshe as they appear in this week’s Torah reading on faith alone. We have eyewitnesses, testimonies, films, official documented government records, and written memoirs that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

KI TEITZEI

The Torah deals with temptation in this week’s reading. Temptation is a constant factor in human existence. Usually we do not carry out the acts that tempt us simply because of lack of opportunity and not necessarily because of our piety. People are watching, the police are in the vicinity, the circumstances currently conspire against us being successful in this tempting but illicit venture....

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LOST CAUSES

The tendency of us old folks is to glorify the past generation of the days of our youth and to be skeptical of the motives and behavior of current generations. This tendency is so universal and pronounced that King Solomon in Kohelet warns us against so thinking for it is not out of wisdom that we believe it to be so. Yet I cannot help but in my mind compare the great causes that dominated the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ELUL

In Eastern Europe as well as in other European, Balkan and Middle Eastern Jewish communities, the advent of the month of Elul was greeted with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Both feelings were engendered by the fact that Elul immediately precedes Tishrei, the month that combines judgment and joyful holiday celebrations. Because of the awesome aspect of judgment associated with...

Posted in:
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHOFTIM

Human justice is often unjust, even cruel in the extreme. The barbarism of the Medieval Era was perpetrated in the name of justice. The Psalmist commented ruefully that people construct evil lawfully through legislation and court decisions. The experiences of the past century with Germany, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, etc. certainly suffice to illustrate this sad point. ...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PEOPLE

Standing on the corner of two major thoroughfares in midtown Manhattan recently I was struck by the number and variety of people walking past. There were hordes of them all purposefully heading towards some appointed place and event. They were a composite of all of humanity, representing every color of human skin, babel of languages, all social strata, faiths and ethnic origins. When I was a...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

The American Declaration of Independence claimed that certain basic human rights were obvious. Yet what is obvious to some is in reality obscure and unknown to many others. Because of this, the Torah emphasizes the obvious in this week’s Torah reading. The choice between death in this world and the next, and life – eternal life, no less, should be obvious. The Torah in fact states that seeing...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EKEV

Rashi comments that the word Ekev used here as meaning because or therefore is really the same word in Hebrew for the heel of a human being. Like all parts of our bodies, the heel is valuable, useful and vulnerable. Just ask Achilles! Fashion states that sinful people use the heel to trample on Godly commandments and moral strictures. The heel thus becomes a negative representation of the use of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

HISTORIC TRUTHS

The Jews cannot agree among themselves regarding propriety of place and behavior at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Muslims and Jews cannot agree about security measures necessary on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, let alone agree about the ownership and control of the area itself. On the surface, one may be led to believe that these are arguments about turf and territory, conflicting power and...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein