Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Boredom

One of the effects of being cooped up in one's home for weeks on end, which is the situation for many if not most of us over the past month, is the fact that sooner or later it becomes very boring. Boring is a curse for rabbis, teachers, lecturers, and unfortunately for students as well. There is no comment more devastating to someone who has made a presentation, to say to that person, "I was...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Tazria-Metzorah

This week's Torah portion deals with a mysterious, enigmatic, and unknown physical disease. Somehow this disease brings uncleanliness and defilement to the human body and is manifested in blotches of color which appear on the skin of the person. It can also affect inanimate objects such as bricks and wood in the house and the fabric of clothing and textiles. All of this is mysterious, and we...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Jews and Judaism

I have often quipped that one should never confuse Jews with Judaism. Jews are human beings, subject to all human failings, foibles, and various patterns of behavior and thinking that do not always coincide with the values and the true ideas of Judaism. Nevertheless, over the centuries, in the main, Jews and Judaism were attuned and aspired to the same beneficial conditions for society and for...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHEMINI

The death of the two sons of Aaron remains one of the great mysteries in Torah narrative. The Midrash and the commentators offer various explanations as to the cause of this tragedy. The sons did not want to marry, they had somehow drunk wine and were inebriated, as well as other faults ascribed to them. And since the work of the priests was so holy and delicate, their deaths occurred. However,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

TZAV

In this week’s Torah reading we are taught that the sons of Aaron, the priestly clan of Israel, were charged with the responsibility of keeping an eternal permanent flame burning on the sacrificial altar of the Temple. This miraculous flame appeared to form the image of a crouching lion on the top of that altar. This permanent flame was in addition to another permanent eternal light that...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

SHABBAT HAGADOL

This Shabbat which immediately precedes Pesach is crowned with the title of Shabbat Hagadol – the Great Shabbat. Since every Shabbat is also crowned with greatness then why does this pre-Pesach Shabbat merit a special appellation? There is one basic principle that underlies all the many explanations. And that is that basically, without Shabbat there really can never be a truly meaningful...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

A Long Journey

I traveled to America last week in order to spend the holiday of Pesach with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Because of the troubles associated with the Coronavirus, it was very difficult to obtain a plane reservation. However, a number of resourceful people in Israel arranged a charter flight through El Al on behalf of yeshiva students and young women in Israeli seminaries....

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Vayikra

In this week's Torah reading, the Torah describes for us the rituals of offering sacrifices in the temple. Our generation and our society are far removed from the concept of animal sacrifices and, because of this, the Torah reading somehow does not really speak directly to us. Already in the 13th century, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon offered the idea that we have to view sacrifices for the value...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAYAKHEL – PIKUDEI

Moshe gathers all of the people of Israel into the courtyard of the Tabernacle to instruct them about the observance of the sanctity of Shabbat, That is the content of the lead verse of this week’s Torah reading, The obvious question raised by all of the Torah commentators is whether there was insufficient physical space outside the Tabernacle to hold the entire population of the Jewish...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Going to a Concert

Several weeks ago, in spite of all of the dire warnings regarding the corona virus, I attended a concert of great cantors here in Jerusalem. It was a beautiful concert and all the performers were in excellent voice. They were accompanied by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and by a choir of many dozens of fine tenor, baritone, and bass voices. I don't often go to concerts - in fact, this is the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein