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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

B’HAR – B’CHKOTAI

The book of Vayikra, which contains so many detailed commandments and minute details of ritual within it, concludes with a broad view and general description of Jewish faith. It restates the original premise of Bereshith, that the earth and its inhabitants belong to God and are free agents as to the limits that God has imposed upon them. The basic premise is that “the earth belongs to...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

EMOR

In commenting on the double use of the verb “emor” and “v’amarta,” Rashi states that the lesson to be derived from this grammatical anomaly is that the elder generation is charged with instructing and guiding the younger generation. This apparently simple and very necessary and logical requirement is more difficult to implement than it was to state. Younger generations are...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RABBI BINYAMIN KAMENETZKY, Z’TL

Rabbi Binyamin Kamenetzky passed away last week. He was the eldest son of the great Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky and was a distant relative of our family in previous generations. Presently, a niece of mine is married to one of his sons. But this familial relationship was not the basis of my connection with him and my admiration of his great accomplishments of a long lifetime. He was a member of a...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NAIVETE

Ignorance is curable by knowledge, naiveté much less so. The naïve person, in most cases, is well aware of the facts. Nevertheless, he or she refuses to draw the correct and logical conclusion from those facts. Fanciful, wishful thinking clouds one’s rational judgment. It is as though one believes that by wishing so, it will indeed turn out to be so. The Torah bids us to be an optimistic...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ACHREI – KEDOSHIM

All of us are aware of the difficulty of translating lofty values and ideas into practical daily human behavior. We all wish to be kind and gentle, considerate of others and their needs, a holy and good people. But life and its challenges and complexities always interfere and make the achievement of these goals difficult and elusive. The goal of being a consecrated, good and holy nation,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FOCUS AND VISION

I once heard the Ponevezher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman say to a potential donor that he no longer had the ability to sleep normally for a number of hours but he had not lost his ability to continue to dream. I thought about this last week after returning from my visit t to my opthamologist/retinologist who confirmed the fact that my eyesight is no longer what it once was. But I comforted myself...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TAZRIA – METZORAH

The laws regarding ritual purity and the metaphysical disease of tzsorat, which by the way is not the medically recognized disease of leprosy, affect three categories of human life and society – the human body, clothing and houses. These three areas of human societal existence are the basic building blocks of civilization and society generally. They are the most vital and at the same time the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ISRAEL AT 69

The State of Israel celebrates its sixty-ninth Independence Day. Those of us who were alive in 1948 when the state came into being cannot help but be amazed and impressed by our feisty little country and its achievements. Israel has never been as secure and strong as it is today. It has also, at the very same time, never been so vulnerable, demonized and beset with vicious uncompromising enemies...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHMINI

This week’s Torah reading contains both narrative history and dogmatic Jewish halacha. It relates to us the tragic story of the deaths of the two older sons of Aharon, when they apparently willfully mishandled the obligatory incense offering in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. The Torah reading also details for us the list of animals, birds and fish that may be consumed by Jews in accordance with the...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PESACH THOUGHTS

We usually think of Purim as being the Jewish holiday of the year that represents the opposites of human existence. It is also thought of as being a time of wine and whatever else accompanies the consumption of that alcoholic beverage. But surprisingly enough Pesach also fits that template of opposites and wine consumption. We are all familiar with the rabbinic law that ordains the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein