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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

MISHPATIM

The Talmud develops for us the complex laws that are laid out here in this week’s Torah reading. In fact, a great proportion of the tractates of the Talmud are involved in explaining the words, ideas and practical implications of the verses that appear in this week’s Torah reading. Judaism is a religion of behavior and practicality and not only of soaring spirituality and otherworldly...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PASSWORDS

In a moment of extreme foolishness I recently attempted to pay a credit card bill online through my computer. People of my generation should avoid such risky and dangerous behavior. The computer arrogantly demanded a password in order to log into my account. It also condescendingly informed me that I already had a password and that I should really type it in to get started paying my bill. I...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

YITRO

The idea of a multilayered judicial system is advanced in this week's Torah reading by Yitro, the father-in-law of Moshe. As it appears in the Torah, Moshe originally envisioned himself as being the sole judge of the Jewish people and that all matters, great and petty, should be brought before him for judgment and decision. Yitro advises him that neither he nor the people would survive under...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

B’SHALACH

This week’s Torah reading mentions the eternal problem that all fundraisers for institutions face – namely, that though one may have been successful in raising great sums of money for buildings, it is much more difficult to raise funds for the necessary daily maintenance of the institution and for the salaries of those who are involved with it on a daily basis. The Jewish people truly...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHABBAT FOOD

One of the many distinctive features about the holy day of Shabbat is its full menu. This naturally varies among the different ethnic groups that comprise the Jewish people. As a descendant of Lithuanian Eastern European Jews, I actually associate Shabbat with gefilte fish, chicken soup and hot cholent. Now that may not have been the menu for Jews in Yemen or in Iraq, and I readily acknowledge...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BO

As the story of the sojourn and enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt comes to its final climax in this week's Torah reading, there are many questions that are left unanswered. What was the actual length of time that this Egyptian story encompassed? There seems to be contradictory dates that appear in the Torah. And why does it appear from Talmud and Midrash that the vast majority of the Jews...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE REAL TEST

Jewish history has a relatively simple test to determine the survival of movements, ideas and agendas that constantly crop up in Jewish society. That test is one of generational implications. Will those movements, ideas and agendas produce grandchildren and great-grandchildren that will be loyal to those movements and perpetuate them in the future? Because the results of this test cannot be...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

VAEIRA

As the narrative of the redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage unfolds, I am continually struck by the apparently gradual process that is described for us in the Torah. What does all of the detail associated with each of the plagues visited upon Egypt come to teach us? And would not one great plague alone have sufficed? After all, in the past century we witnessed how two bombs,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

BEDFELLOWS

A recent issue of a local newspaper here in Israel had on its front page a photograph of the Pope of Rome together with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Abbas, at the ceremony of the dedication of the Palestinian Embassy at the Vatican and its recognition as a state by the Holy See. Now the cynics may be forgiven for captioning that picture as one non-state establishing...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Faigie Gilbert

OPTIMISM

It seems that the intrinsic nature of human beings is to be optimistic about the future and about life generally. This is a very strange phenomenon since it flies in the face of all of human experience and seeming reality. We are all aware that the rule, that whatever can go wrong will eventually go wrong, has had very few exceptions in human history. Therefore, foreign policy or military...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein