Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

JEWISH SOLIDARITY

One of the hallmarks of the story of the Jewish people over the millennia of our existence has been the fact that Jews, no matter what their political persuasion or level of religious belief and observance, always seem to care for one another. Though there always were divergent interests and different agendas present in the Jewish world, nevertheless when Jews were in mortal danger the Jewish...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RE’EH

It is interesting, at least to me, to note that in the review of the Jewish holidays of the calendar year that appears in this week's Torah reading, only the three festivals of Pesach, Succot and Shavuot are mentioned. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are noticeable in their absence from this list of holidays. The obvious reason for their omission is that the commandment to go up to Jerusalem for the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE

There is one thing that we can all agree upon and it is is that the existence and policies of the State of Israel, no matter which party is in power, makes Jews the world over feel uncomfortable. There always is some untoward incident, bad behavior, foolish governmental policy or controversial and aggressive stance that makes many Jews squirm in their seats. Because of this discomfort, there...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EIKEV

The word with which this week's Torah reading begins literally means ‘because of’ or ‘as a consequence of’ one's actions and behavior. However Rashi chooses to define the word ‘eikev’ in a more allegorical sense. Rashi traces the word to its root where it means the heel of a person. We find that this is its meaning when the Torah describes our father Jacob holding onto the heel of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NOTHING ORIGINAL

I imagine that most blogs and commentary articles in the Jewish world this week will concentrate on the tragic and difficult events that occurred in Israel with the firebomb murder of a Palestinian infant and the slashing attack by a religious fanatic upon participants at a parade in Jerusalem. It certainly makes sense that these events should be written about and commented upon for they...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAETCHANAN – NACHAMU

In the Torah reading of this week our teacher and leader Moshe prays and begs for a final time, that Heaven revoke its decree preventing him from entering the Land of Israel. His plea is unsuccessful and, in fact, he is told not to raise the subject again during his lifetime. It is striking to note that Moshe does not complain about the outcome of his entreaty nor is there any note of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

POST-TISHA B’AV THOUGHTS

I spent the better part of the afternoon of Tisha B’Av reading a book recently published concerning the history of Chicago's Orthodox rabbinate from the late 1800s to the middle of the twentieth century. The book has special meaning to me since I knew many of the rabbis described in the book during my early years in Chicago a half-century ago. Also the fact that my father and grandfather...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABBAT AND TISHA B’AV

It is an established fact that Shabbat trumps almost every other commandment, custom and practice in Jewish life and law. Allowing circumcision on Shabbat is the exception and not the rule. Whether confronting the fast days or feast days, Shabbat takes precedence. It rules, by rabbinic decree, over shofar and lulav as well as over the mournful commemorations of personal and national grief, loss...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

DVARIM - CHAZON

The book of Dvarim begins on a somber note. In fact the entire book, for most of its contents and statements, is a very sobering volume. Our teacher and leader Moshe reviews for us his career and the events of his leadership of Israel over the past tumultuous forty years. He spares neither himself nor the people of Israel in his assessment of the mistakes and misfortunes that occurred over that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MATOT-MASEI

The opening theme of this week's double parsha/Torah reading, concerns itself with the laws of vows and verbal commitments. The Torah nevertheless introduces this subject by stating that these laws and values were transmitted to the heads of the tribes of Israel. Since these laws are binding upon the entire Jewish people and are clearly discussed and explained in the Talmud in the tractate of...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein