Moses' Absence Moses' absence, which after all was occasioned by a command from God, was not really the main problem that troubled the Jewish people.
TaxesParshat Truma is a good time to discuss the idea of taxes.
The Message of the Book of GenesisThis perseverance of family building, in spite of all of the disappointments inherent in that task, is the reason for the book of Bereshit.
Defining One's Self - Crucial to Conflict ResolutionProspects forresolution of the Israeli-Arab dispute in the near future remain unlikely. It is not only that we don’t have a partner. It is that our proposed partner does not know what his goals are except for the destruction of the State of Israel
The American BabyloniaThe parallels between Jewish Babylonia and Jewish America are troubling and should be pondered.
Underrating TemptationFor the past several weeks, we have been reading about temptation and human reactions to it.
Was Eliezer Wrong?Was it a precursor of the fact that the signs and omens seem to win out?
Are We Repeating the 1930's?Here is one major difference: for the first time in nineteen centuries the major powers in the world are concerned about what the Jews are going to do to defend themselves.
The 'Frier' ComplexThe Chareidi community is guilty of making the general Israeli society feel like a frier and in being very smug about so doing.
Policy, Tactics and StrategyTactics are a test of practicality – what works and what does not. Strategy is really a matter of intellect mixed with intuition. And policy should be limited by rigid and unbending rules of Torah values and tradition.
Generational RecognitionIt is only when we grow older – usually much older – that we begin to appreciate family relationships and generational bonds.
Costume or Disguise?Do all those who profess their loyalty to Israel's right to exist really mean it or is it just a disguise?
The Crucial Need for Jewish TraditionAn observant Jew, even one devoted to Torah study and willing to defend the Torah way of life as it was now almost newly created against all foes, must also have a sense of the tradition of Jewish society and its behavior patterns.
Echoes From the PastThe great movements that shook and motivated the Jewish world a century ago have all passed from the scene. It is only their echoes that remain with us, for good or for bad.
Sticking it Out as a FamilyJewish tradition teaches us that all later disputes within the Jewish world are already foretold in the story of Yosef and his brothers - yet we remain, as the brothers remained, a family. Leaders, take note.
Homegrown Enemies of Jewish LifeThere are internal enemies that we must conquer so we can face the very real external threats. Remember Pogo's line? Rabbi Wein tells us what and how.
The ZeitgeistWhat was the major force in the secularization of Jewish society in the 19th century - and is it still present?
The DisconnectWhile there are many rabbinic pronouncements on the minutiae of Jewish law, customs and observance there is very little that is said and heard about the major problems that face the Jewish world today. This has to change!
Biblical LessonsRespect for the elderly is a basic tenet of Judaism. The Torah commands us to rise in honor of the aged and to give allegiance and respect to elders.
Tossing a CoinDid you know that all of the coins in circulation in modern day Israel are replicas of ancient coins used by Jews in the Land of Israel thousands of years ago?
Noach: No One Likes to Heed WarningsNo one likes to listen to prophets of gloom and doom.
And this truism of human behavior is not news to those of us who have lived in Israel over the past number of decades.
Shofar SoundsEvery commandment of the Torah is multi-faceted and we do ourselves and our faith a disservice if we deal with the Torah simply and naively.
The Judgment of Secondary Jews For too long many Jews and Jewish organizations have acted and spoken without taking into account that by carving a hole under their own seat in the boat they endanger the entire Jewish nation.
IDF YIzkor Prayer Under Attack-What Next?Yizkor services were the link connecting generations for ages in the Jewish world. Yizkor without God’s name in it is meaningless, a travesty of Jewish history and a mockery of the purpose of the prayer.
The "Cottage Cheese Spring"This cottage cheese frenzy is enough to make anyone’s milk curdle.But the rabbi found it to be a breath of relief when cottage cheese was the main topic on Israeli radio this week.
Shavuot: Depth and MeaningShavuot is the quintessential holiday of the Jewish people in and with the Land of Israel and its Torah.
Acts And AccountabilityMan cannot accomplish anything alone. But God demands that we apply our efforts and dedication to the task. And we are held accountable for those efforts and costs.
<i>Ki Tavo</I>: Realism is the Torah WayPeople are justifiably proud of their accomplishments. After all, one's efforts and talents, time and struggle, are of no minor consequence in one's life. Many times, we feel that this is perhaps all we have to show for our years on earth. Therefore, there is a human tendency to view one's achievements in a somewhat exaggerated fashion, without being able to place the true accomplishment in realis
<i>Ki Tetze</I>: The Enemy WithinWinston Churchill, in a speech to the House of Commons, once quoted the altered, semi-facetious aphorism, "We have met the enemy and they are us," in describing the policy shortcomings of the then-ruling government in England. In this week's Torah reading we find this idea described in detail.
<i>Shoftim</I>: CompetitionThis week's Torah reading introduces the prohibition against the concept of <i>hasagat gvul</i> - unfair and immoral competition. The Hebrew words <i>hasagat gvul</i> literally mean overstepping or illegally encroaching on one's neighbor's border. Just as it is obviously wrong to move one's border fence to gobble up a piece of ground of the neighboring lot, so too is it wrong to engage in unfair c
<i>Re?eh</I>: False ProphetsWe should be steadfast in avoiding being swayed by their currently, but only temporarily, politically correct, siren song. Anything that does not conform to God's natural law of nature and humans, as clearly expressed in the Torah, is a dangerous delusion and a false and destructive type of prophecy.
The Basic TenetThe basic tenet of all of Jewish life, history, culture and civilization appears is: "Hear O Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is uniquely one." Jews have lived by this credo, died with these words on their lips and in their souls and sustained themselves through all times of adversity by the knowledge and faith of God's existence and relationship to Israel, represented by the simple words of t
<i>D?varim</I>: A Good EyeOne of the most essential traits for leadership of any kind and most certainly for leadership in Jewish life is cultivating a "good eye." Our rabbis, in <i>Pirkei Avot</i>, emphasize that having a "good eye" is a major goal and accomplishment in life. A "good eye" allows one to be optimistic and hopeful, even though the realities of life are often discouraging and negative.
<i>Vayikra</I>: <i>Torat Kohanim</i>The third book of the <i>Chumash</i>, <i>Vayikra</i>, is called <i>"Torat Kohanim"</i> - the law of the priests - in rabbinic literature. This is undoubtedly because most of the book is occupied with the laws of the specific sacrifices and the duties of the <i>Kohanim</i> in the Temple. However, there is another, broader and more universal aspect to the name of the book of <i>Vayikra/Torat Kohanim
<i>Pekudei</I>: AccountabilityAt the conclusion of the reading of this <i>parsha</i>, the congregation rises and proclaims <i>chazak, chazak v'nischazek.</i> - "Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us strengthen others as well." Part of being strong is the realization of the necessity of being responsible for one's deeds, behavior and words. All of the great miracles and events that preceded this <i>parsha</i> in the boo
<i>Vayakhel</i>: A Sense of PurposeHere in Israel, we are busily engaged in trying to form a coalition government to govern us in times of problems and distress. In democratic societies, there has to be some sort of national consensus in order to govern properly. That national consensus of the Jewish people has always been found within the staves of the Holy Ark. Removing sections of Jewry from that space only brings divisiveness,