Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

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

FAKE RELIGION

One of the many troublesome trends existing in our societies is the elevation of issues that are basically political and even monetary, to the level of religious faith and practice. The current struggle, mainly in the media and not so much on the ground itself, regarding the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount, is an example of making a security and political issue into a matter...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN – NACHAMU

Moshe’s final heartfelt appeal to the merciful God of Israel is somehow refused and of no avail. He will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. One can only feel the bitter disappointment and frustration that he must have experienced at this response. Nevertheless, he continues in his role as teacher and leader of Israel even until his final day. The balance of this book of Dvarim is...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Dvarim –Chazon

The Torah reading of this Shabbat and the attendant Haftorah from the book of Isaiah always precedes the week of the fast day of the ninth of Av. It is as though our teacher Moshe, a millennium before the destruction of the First Temple, already envisioned the disaster that would befall the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. This is also true regarding the words of the prophet Isaiah who,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DISASTER AND REBIRTH

The remarkable lesson of the Jewish commemoration of the destruction of our Temples many centuries ago is not only that this commemoration continues to pain us but that, ironically, it almost unexpectedly provides us with hope and fortitude for a brighter future. This fact is emphasized to us in the statement of the Talmud that the time of the Messiah began on the day that the Temples were...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

HOT SUMMERS

This summer in Israel appears to be an especially hot one. Of course, the average person is unable to remember past summers, as to what the weather actually was and therefore all comparisons are very subjective. However our only weather bureau has statistics that trace weather patterns over the past century and therefore their comparisons contain some merit. It appears that the weather here,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein