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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

KORACH

The tragedies and difficulties that befell the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai continue to multiply in the Torah reading of this week. This week's sad story involves unique personalities affected by human ambition, jealousy and a complete misreading of one's true role in the family and society. Korach sees himself as being a far greater person than he really is. He is convinced that he...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

I have long been fascinated by the subject of the names of human beings especially Jewish names. It seems that names given to children throughout the centuries of Jewish life vary greatly and come and go in waves. Naturally, we have the names that appear in the Bible and those names have remained constant throughout Jewish history. Yet, it is obvious that certain names are much more popular than...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DINOSAURS AND PHONES

Over 30 years ago my congregation in Monsey, New York, as a token of great appreciation to me for my rabbinic services, installed a car phone in my automobile. It was a great big clumsy apparatus with the receptors housed in the trunk of my car and the phone itself, which was full-sized, sitting on the console next to me. I am certain that my congregation was well-meaning in giving me that phone,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHLACH

Much has been written and taught regarding the motives of the leaders of Israel, those who Moshe sent to spy out the land of Israel in advance of the Jewish people entering their homeland. After all the explanations, it remains a baffling mystery as to how such great people could have been so wrong on such an important issue. Just as they were able to convince an entire generation to believe as...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

GREAT ISSUES. PERSONAL MOTIVES

I rarely if ever write about politics per se. All politics is messy and borders upon reviewing the worst instincts that exist within human behavior. I am not interested in washing dirty linen in public, and though I believe in democracy and its institutions and procedures, I am oftentimes unable to reconcile myself to the manner in which democratic elections or the legislative and executive...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHALOTCHA

In many respects this is the saddest chapter that appears in the Torah. The Jewish people, having successfully been released from Egyptian slavery and arriving at Mount Sinai and accepting the sacredness of God's Torah, they then embark on the building of the Tabernacle. They are then able to successfully complete that project and are ready to undertake the final mission that they are charged...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHAVUOT

This holiday was marked in Temple times by bringing the first fruits of the new crops of the new agricultural year as an offering. However, during our times, when the Temple service is not performed, there is no single commandment that applies to this holiday. Therefore, the Jewish people, in their love for the holidays of the year, have created customs that accompany this holiday even if they...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

NASSO

The Torah reading this week begins with a commandment to Moshe to count the Levites, especially the family of Gershon. The Hebrew words that are used to make this count, literally translated, mean “raise the head” of the family of Gershon, who are an important section of the tribe of the Levites. There are many different interpretations as to why the Torah chose to use this formulation of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

AIR CONDITIONING

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the major technological improvements that we benefit from in our modern world is air-conditioning. There are great areas of the world that were previously almost uninhabitable because of the heat of their climate but that today are thriving large cities simply because the homes, offices, factories and automobiles operating in those high heat areas are now...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR

Population numbers have always meant a great deal in human history. We do not find tribes or influential societies that were composed only of a very small number of people. All the great tribes in the ancient and modern world were built on large populations that would be able to fuel the economy of the Empire and provide sufficient numbers of soldiers for its armies. Naturally the exception...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein