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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

BERESHITH 5781

This week's opening parsha of the Torah can be viewed as having bookends. There are two main characters in the story of humanity that are introduced to us. At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah tells us of the creation of Adam, the original human being, and the progenitor of all of us. Thus, the Torah records the tragedy of his life and he becomes, so to speak, the story of all human beings...

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Weekly Parsha
by
Faigie Gilbert

VZOT HABRACHA 5781

It is interesting that our great leader and teacher Moshe followed the lead of our father Jacob when it came to blessing the Jewish people before he left the world. The blessings that Moshe bestowed were individual and particular. Each tribe was given its own blessing and its mission. Every human being is different, and even the greatest amongst us who, on the surface, appears similar,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SUCCOT

The holiday of Succot is, perhaps, unique amongst all the holidays of the Jewish calendar year. The laws pertaining to the commandments particular to this holiday are almost all exclusively derived from the oral law given to our teacher Moshe on Sinai There is no way that a succah can be successfully and traditionally constructed without recourse to the intricacies and nuances that the oral...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the quintessential and unique Jewish holy day of the year. All the other holidays that our God has given to us as a faith and as a people have their parallels in non-Jewish society. All societies have days of national independence, harvest festivals of Thanksgiving, celebrations of victories and historic moments of salvation and national preservation. Naturally, our holy days of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

Ha'azinu

Moshe appeals to Heaven and earth to somehow hear his words and bear testimony to the accuracy of his prophecies. Nature does not have a will of its own, but, rather, is bound by the original directions and system created by God when the universe came into being. Unlike human beings who possess free will and can make choices even when those choices are against their own self-interest, nature is...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

ROSH HASHANA 5781

I believe that all of us can agree that this year the awesome days of Rosh Hashana will be different than in past years. Many of us may not even be allowed to attend the synagogue for public worship. Others will pray and assemble in open, outside areas. There is a rhythm to our holidays that this coronavirus has interrupted. Nevertheless, Rosh Hashana will take place and Jews worldwide will...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NITZAVIM – VAYELECH 5780

The very two words that signify the titles of the two portions of the Torah that we will hear in the synagogue this Shabbat are, at first glance, contradictory. Nitzavim signifies a solid stance, and unwavering presence, and a commanding appearance. It reflects an unchanging nature, and the necessary ability to stand one's ground. no matter what the circumstances of life. On the other hand,...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

RETURN AND REPENTANCE

We find ourselves towards the end of the month of Elul, standing before the great days of judgment, forgiveness, and renewed commitment. A few weeks ago, I happened to visit my physician on a relatively minor matter. As he handed me a prescription for a lotion that I should apply and a pill that I should take, he inquired as to whether I had ever been vaccinated for pneumonia. When I told him...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TAVO

I have in earlier years written about the strange requirement that the Torah imposes upon the Jewish farmer in the land of Israel when he brings his first crop of the year to Jerusalem as an offering in the Temple. However, I want to reiterate and expand on the matter once again in this short article because I believe it to be of vital and relevant importance to us in our times. The Jewish...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

KI TETZEI 5780

The Torah always views life as a struggle, a conflict between the various natures that exist within each human being, a fight between rational good and instinctive evil. Rashi points out in his commentary to this week's Torah reading, that the Torah is addressing itself directly to the evil instinct that lies within all of us and warns us. Even if we do not behave in an illegal manner, unpleasant...

Posted in:
Weekly Parsha
by
Rabbi Berel Wein