Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

MACHERS

Because of the constantly creeping overreach of government into all areas of our lives, a new industry was created here in Israel – and certainly not only in Israel but in every other country and political system in the world. Here in Israel, people who are engaged full time in this industry are called “machers.” Loosely translated from the original Yiddish, the word connotes people who are...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

BECHUKOTAI

From a cursory review of this week’s Torah reading, one can easily come to the conclusion that God’s method for dealing with us is with earthly rewards and punishments. The blessings that appear in the reading are all physical, emotional and sometimes psychological. There is no mention of eternal life, the survival of the soul, and/or of the rewards in the World to Come. And the same is...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NORMALCY

One of the most difficult standards to judge or even define is what is considered normal behavior. We all aspire to a sense of normalcy and in fact we wish to live him a society that is considered normal. The problem is how do we judge normalcy? What was abnormal or even abhorrent behavior just a few decades ago is today within the realm of acceptability. So, there is no doubt that any...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BOOKS Redux

A dear friend of mine recently immigrated here to Israel and Jerusalem. As is the case with almost all Western immigrants to our wonderful little country, he was forced to downsize. We all somehow learned to live here in apartments and houses half the size of those that we inhabited in the "old home." To those of us who are bibliophiles, this presents an especially painful problem. We...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHAR

This week's Torah reading seems to emphasize that the granting of the Torah to Moshe, and through him to Israel generally, took place at the Mountain of Sinai. Since the Torah does not deal with incidental geographic details, this emphasis regarding the mountain bears study and analysis. Mountain climbing is a sport for the hardy of spirit and the physically fit. However most of us are perfectly...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EMOR

The Torah commandment regarding the counting of the seven weeks between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot appears in a timely fashion in this week's Torah reading. Over the many millennia of Torah study and commentary numerus ideas have been advanced as to the import and meaning of this commandment. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the simple meaning and apparent lesson is that we are to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KEDOSHIM

The demands that the Torah imposes upon us with the large array of commandments that appear in this week's Torah reading are major and taxing. Nevertheless we have a rule that the Torah never demands the impossible from human beings or of human behavior. As such, I feel that the true challenge implicit in the commandment to be a holy and dedicated person – the idea that is present in the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MEMORIAL DAYS

The last days of April and the beginning days of May are days of memory and remembrance here in Israel. The last Monday in May is Memorial Day in the United States. Official days of remembrance are the feeble attempts of nations and governments to somehow strengthen and revitalize national memory. They recall for us difficult times, great human sacrifice and always attempt to teach a lesson from...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ACHREI MOS

The Torah has already described the tragedy of the family of Aaron, when his sons Nadav and Avihu died while performing incense burning on the day of the final dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. So, why does the Torah return to the subject and mention it again in this week’s Torah reading? The commentators over the ages, from the time of the Talmud onwards, have derived many explanations,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

IT IS CLOSING DOWN

One of the great cardinal errors of early Zionism was its complete negation of the millennia old Exile and the achievements of the Jews in that Exile. The early Zionist leaders did not stress the spiritual, national and psychological allure of the Land of Israel as much as they emphasized the shortcomings of Jewish life in the lands of Jewish dispersion. This philosophy generated a great deal of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein