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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

SIRENS

One of the many skills that those of us living here in Israel rapidly acquire is the ability to discern between the different sounds of similar-sounding sirens. We live in a noisy environment and it is more than likely that in everyday living here we will hear some kind of siren. Most of the time the siren is from an ambulance transporting people to the hospital for treatment. The wail of that...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHALOTCHA 5781

We are familiar with the Rashi’s comment in the second verse of this week's Torah reading that the Priest who lit the candelabra was to keep the fire close to the wick, until the wick itself caught fire and rose by itself. This is a lesson not only regarding the lighting of the great candelabra in the Temple but is also a metaphor for many life situations. Unless the wick itself truly catches...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NASSO 5781

The Torah reading of this week continues with the count of the different families within the tribe of Levi. We are aware that this tribe has been chosen for public service in the Temple and, generally, on behalf of the Jewish people. They do not own land, and their financial support is based upon the tithe that the Jewish people contributed from their produce. The Levites serve at special...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Post –Shavuot

Of all the holidays of the Jewish calendar year, Shavuot is the shortest – celebrated only for one day. Many times, this holiday somehow leaves people feeling unfulfilled by what they had hoped to be a spiritual and joyful experience. The reasons for this are numerous – all night learning sessions which engender a day of sleep, lack of any specific commandment associated with the holiday in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BAMIDBAR 5781

Our Parsha begins this fourth book of the written Torah by stating that the Lord spoke to Moshe in the desert of Sinai. In fact, this entire book takes its identity from the fact that it was spoken to Moshe and written by him while in the desert of Sinai. A question naturally arises about the significance that all of this was taught and expounded upon in the desert of Sinai. What difference does...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A LOST CUSTOM

For most of my life, I was accustomed to visiting people in their homes and in receiving visitors in my own home. My generation communicated with each other by letter correspondence or face-to-face personal visits. I remember as a child how the colleagues and friends of my father and mother would come to visit us in our home on long Friday night winters in Chicago and how we would reciprocate. ...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TRAGEDIES

It seems that, in spite of the best efforts of human beings and societies, tragedies are unavoidable in the regular course of human existence. The tragedy that we in Israel suffered on Lag B'Omer is still too fresh and the wound is too open to be able to assess it properly. There will be the commissions of inquiry, recommendations as to future security and crowd control, as well as a frenzied...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEHAR – BECHUKOTAI 5781

The reading of these two sections of the Torah concludes the book of Vayikra – the book that contains most of the commandments given to the Jewish people on Sinai and for all eternity. One of the central commandments that appears in this week's reading is that of shmita – the rules regarding the sabbatical year that the Jewish people were to observe when they were in the land of Israel. This...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

LAG B’OMER 5781

The dark and sorrowful days of the counting of the Omer are interrupted suddenly by the day of commemoration that marks an abrupt ending to this sadness. According to the Talmud, it was during this period that tens of thousands of the students and disciples of the great Rabbi Akiva passed away. It was on the 33rd day of the count of the Omer when suddenly were no more deaths. The majority...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

EMOR 5781

The Torah reading this week includes a review of the holidays of the Jewish calendar. The list of holidays is repeated numerous times in the Torah. We find it in the book of Shemot and again in the book of Devarim, and here in our reading in the book of Vayikra. Since there are no needless repetitions in the holy text of the Torah, commentators over the ages have offered many explanations as to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein