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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

EIKEV

The parsha this week ties together the observance of the Torah commandments, especially the warnings against paganism and idolatry, with the earthly blessings of longevity and prosperity. Over the ages this has caused great philosophic debate and discussion, for this cause and effect relationship is not always apparent in the national or personal lives of the Jewish people. Many commentators...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

VAETCHANAN

The Torah as we all well know is multilayered. The rabbis have taught us that there are seventy facets to every piece of the written Torah. We are also aware that no written word can adequately convey to us all of the nuances and possible meanings that lie embedded in the written word. The Torah requires elucidation, commentary and explanation in order for any proper understanding of its message...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM

This week’s parsha, Dvarim, is a continuation of last week’s parsha of Maasei. This is because it also forms a narrative review of events that occurred to the Jewish people during their forty years of life in the desert of Sinai. Just as last week’s parsha reviewed for us the stations where the Jews encamped during those forty years, so does this week’s parsha review for us key...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT – MAASEI

The narrative of the experiences of the people of Israel in the desert of Sinai concludes with the parshiyot of this week. All of the occurrences, successes and failures that marked this forty year trek in a wasteland wilderness are alluded to in the count of Israel in last week’s parsha - and in the listing of all of the way stations of that excursion. The Torah seems to be determined to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PINCHAS

The Torah records for us the genealogy of Pinchas, the true and justified zealot of Jewish history. There are many reasons advanced as to why the Torah felt impelled to tell us of the names of his father and grandfather. Many commentators saw in this an explanation to justify Pinchas’ behavior, while others emphasized that it was an explanation for Pinchas’ reward and of God granting him the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

BALAK

The Torah records for us in this week’s parsha the appearance of an old enemy in a new guise. According to Midrash, which reflects traditional rabbinic thinking on the subject matter being discussed, Bilaam had advised Pharaoh decades earlier to exterminate the Jewish people. Pharaoh, for various reasons and circumstances beyond his control, was unable to finish the job though vast numbers of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CHUKAT

The series of disasters that befell the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai, as recorded for us in the previous parshiot of the book of Bamidbar, reaches its climax in this week’s parsha. Heaven decrees that neither Moshe nor Aharon or Miriam – the entire leadership team of the Jewish people – will be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. The treatment of Moshe individually seems rather...

Posted in:
Sabbath/ Holidays
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KORACH

The litany of disappointments and failures, of the generation of Jews that left Egyptian bondage, continues in this week’s parsha. Except, this parsha relates to us not so much in describing a direct confrontation with God and His express wishes, so to speak, but rather tells of a challenge to Moshe and his authority to lead the Jewish people. Korach essentially engages in a coup, a...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHLACH

The attitude of Jews towards the Land of Israel has always been a litmus type of test of Jewish commitment and even faith throughout the ages. As we see in this week’s parsha, from the beginning of our national existence there have always been Jews – leading Jews, well-intentioned Jews, even outwardly pious Jews – who have preferred living somewhere else in the world than living in the Land...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

B’HALOTCHA

The Torah instructs Aharon and through him all of his successors, the High Priests of Israel, that when lighting the great menorah one should make certain that the six outside lamps should all face into the center lamp. There are various opinions amongst the commentators as to how this was to be accomplished. The wicks were bent inwards or perhaps the lamps themselves were tilted towards the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein