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Rabbi Berel Wein

News and updates about Rabbi Berel Wein

Chaye Sarah: Here in the Land of Israel all is good

In everyone’s life there are moments of danger, frustration, disappointment and even tragedy, but they need not describe our lives.

Chaye Sarah: Here in the Land of Israel all is good

A small, lonely and eternal people

Even the cursory reader senses that Avraham and Sarah are up to something great – that this is no ordinary tale of pioneering and struggle.

A small, lonely and eternal people

Seven weeks of consolation!

Three weeks of sadness requires seven weeks of consolation. That’s the period of the calendar that we are in right now.

Seven weeks of consolation!

How could the Jewish people behave this way?

I wonder to myself,,,

How could the Jewish people behave this way?

Behar-Bechukotai: Great blessings and stern warnings

The story of the Jewish people: Our tears are always mixed with joy and our joy is always laden with a heavy dose of accompanying tears.

Behar-Bechukotai: Great blessings and stern warnings

Priestly lineage - priestly mission

The values of marriage, probity in relationships, pedigree and family were all strengthened in the Jewish nation by the priestly laws.

Priestly lineage - priestly mission

Ki Tisa: How could Aharon have done what he did?

The Torah excuses no sins and gives no one a free pass on one’s negative behavior. But it leaves room for mitigating evil acts.

Ki Tisa: How could Aharon have done what he did?

The major identity test of life

In this week’s parsha of Terumah the Torah presents a challenge to human behavior.

The major identity test of life

MIshpatim: The message of individual freedom

Governments that prach equality enslave others without a second thought.

MIshpatim: The message of individual freedom

Yitro: The small things in life that build a healthy society

Why is there such an apparent emphasis on Yitro and his arrival when this week's parsha contains the Revelation at Mount Sinai?

Yitro: The small things in life that build a healthy society

Beshalach: Momentous moments in history

We can relive the event intellectually and positively in an historic vein but the emotional grandeur of the moment evaporates over time.

Beshalach: Momentous moments in history

Arrogance of power, arrogance of intellect

The dictators of our past century: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Arafat, never admitted to error and led their people to untold suffering

Arrogance of power, arrogance of intellect

Vaeira: Would not one great plague alone have sufficed?

After all, in the past century we witnessed how two bombs forced the powerful and fanatical Japanese Empire to surrender unconditionally.

Vaeira: Would not one great plague alone have sufficed?

What did the Jews do wrong?

The Torah does not describe to us the process by which the situation so radically changed for Jews in Egypt. Nor how Moshe grew to lead.

What did the Jews do wrong?

Vayechi: Immortality and continuity, family and generations

The rabbis must be telling us a deeper message than mere biological and genetic survival from the past until today.

Vayechi: Immortality and continuity, family and generations

Jacob blesses Pharaoh - does Pharaoh realize why?

Though Jacob lived a stormy and often tragic life, it is he who blesses Pharaoh for Jacob possesses the gift of the future and immortality.

Jacob blesses Pharaoh - does Pharaoh realize why?

Miketz: A narrative of Providence in human affairs

Joseph is seen as the main antagonist to Eisav, for Eisav always attributed events to random chance and to human action and power.

Miketz: A narrative of Providence in human affairs

Should we psychoanalyze Joseph and his brothers?

Even those who are observant and scholarly sometimes insert currently faddish values and interpretations into the Torah's eternal words.

Should we psychoanalyze Joseph and his brothers?

Vayishlach: Jacob has nowhere to run

Jacob, who barely escapes from the treachery of Lavan, soon finds himself confronted by the deadly mob of his brother Esav.

Vayishlach: Jacob has nowhere to run

Vayetze: Appeasement vs. Confrontation

Jacob has a dual mode of action. In the galut, the Jewish people made use of one, but in their own land, they can choose the other.

Vayetze: Appeasement vs. Confrontation

Chayei Sarah: Formidable women

Sarah is the woman of iron that acts to guarantee the future survival of the Jewish people.

Chayei Sarah:  Formidable women

Alma deshikra - a world of falseness - and Abraham

God’s seal is truth. Truth is the gift that we ask God to grant to Yaakov. Sodom and Avimelech are the diametric opposite of that.

Alma deshikra -  a world of falseness - and Abraham

Lech Lecha: The children of Abraham have returned home

Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish people, have shared his test and challenge with him over our long history.

Lech Lecha: The children of Abraham have returned home

Noah: Failure of greatness

The failure of greatness is depressing. How could the righteous man of his time end up drunk and disheveled in his tent?

Noah: Failure of greatness

Outside the Garden of Eden

What life was like within the Garden of Eden is pretty much an unknown to us.

Outside the Garden of Eden

Haazinu: This entire, very complex story

All the events of Jewish history are outlined in this parsha. Ramban called Moshe an exceptional prophet, and 750 years later,it sill holds.

Haazinu: This entire, very complex story

Vayelech: A short and powerful parasha

This parsha especially gains in power and relevance as Jewish history unfolds over thousands of years.

Vayelech: A short and powerful parasha

Judaism, an equal opportunity faith

There is no separate Shulchan Aruch for rabbis, no dispensation for kings and prophets. The covenant binds and governs us all equally.

Judaism, an equal opportunity faith

Ki Tavo: The inconsonance between generations

The most bitter curse of all of those in the parasha is that future generations will undo all we have done.

Ki Tavo: The inconsonance between generations

Why the Torah concentrates on behavior, not its causes

The Torah presumes that in spite of all of its warnings, commandments and values, human beings, good decent people, fall prey to weaknesses,

Why the Torah concentrates on behavior, not its causes

There are times the minority must make itself heard

The forest always trumps the trees in the Jewish view of law and halakhic life, but not in everything else.

There are times the minority must make itself heard

Re'eh: The vision of the future

The word re’ah which means “see” is the key word in the parsha. This entails a vision for the future and its new demands in Eretz Yisrael.

Re'eh: The vision of the future

Ekev:They heard only what they wished to hear

Moshe presents, throughout his discourse, both sides of the coin.Unfortunately, over the ages, the Jews have not always chosen wisely.

Ekev:They heard only what they wished to hear

Shabbat Nachamu: Beginning a time of consolation

Healing occurs when one believes that there is yet a future ahead.

Shabbat Nachamu: Beginning a time of consolation

Summing up forty years

Moshe communicates a message to the generation in the desert and about to enter an unknown land, and he resonates on for eternity.

Summing up forty years

Mattot-Masei: The presence of those no longer with us

It is not only Joshua who is leading the Jewish people into the land of Israel, but the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

Mattot-Masei: The presence of those no longer with us

Mattot: Words are binding

Everything that is uttered from our mouths obligates us to the commitment attached to it.

Mattot: Words are binding

Pinchas: Impetuous upstart or heroic leader?

There are so many times in history that this story has repeated itself, albeit always under different circumstances.

Pinchas: Impetuous upstart or heroic leader?

Balak: Who needs an anti-Semite's compliments?

The Talmud teaches us that from the words of blessing from the mouth of Bilaam, we can determine what his true intent was: Poison candy.

Balak: Who needs an anti-Semite's compliments?

Chukat (Israel): Heavenly irrationality

How ironic that the most irrational of all creatures – human beings – criticize Jewish tradition as not being rational or easily explained.

Chukat (Israel): Heavenly irrationality

Korach: Personal ambition and unwarranted hubris

It is quite common in history that dangerous, corrupt, and nefarious political groups always claim the high moral ground for themselves.

Korach: Personal ambition and unwarranted hubris

Shlach: Testing God

The people’s relationship with the Creator was dysfunctional and it seems they did not share Hs program for their future.

Shlach: Testing God

Naso: Repetition and Behaalotcha: Parenthood for independence

Much of Judaism is based upon repetitive behavior.and the leaders' offerings exemplify that while the menora flame is a message to parents.

Naso:  Repetition and Behaalotcha: Parenthood for independence

Bamidbar: When mystery prevails over human understanding

Apparently, the greater the detail, the greater the mystery that it engenders.

Bamidbar: When mystery prevails over human understanding

Bechukotai (Israel): The totality of Jewish life

As important as knowledge of history is – and I consider it to be very important – history alone can ever preserve us.

Bechukotai (Israel): The totality of Jewish life

Behar (Israel): Life is never an easy climb

Mount Sinai exemplifies the mountain that Abraham saw.

Behar (Israel): Life is never an easy climb

The priesthood

Judaism, which always is a meritocracy, nevertheless, creates an aristocracy in the priesthood of Aaron and his descendants.

The priesthood

Rabbi Berel Wein discusses Chief Rabbi Herzog with Isaac Herzog

Watch: During Passover, President Isaac Herzog was hosted by Rabbi Berel Wein, who knew the president's illustrious grandfather.

Rabbi Berel Wein discusses Chief Rabbi Herzog with Isaac Herzog

Kedoshim (Israel): Watch out for bias when giving advice

This week Israel reads Kedoshim and the Diaspora reads Acharei Mot. Arutz Sheva will alternate articles on both readings.

Kedoshim (Israel): Watch out for bias when giving advice

Spiritual disease

We are unable to identify the disease of Tzoraat, but we know it is a spiritual disease and thus, why the Kohen is the one who treats it.,

Spiritual disease

Circumcision - what does it signify?

Bans of circumcision for whatever reasons, realize how basic it is to Jewish consciousness and values.

Circumcision - what  does it signify?

Shmini: Are we what we eat?

In the parasha, the Torah is telling us that the physical foods we consume somehow affect our inner souls, psyches and patterns of behavior.

Shmini: Are we what we eat?

Vayikra: There is no free lunch

We ourselves are the sacrifice that can bring us to a true attainment of forgiveness, in terms of heavenly judgment.

Vayikra: There is no free lunch

To be human is to be responsible - and accountable

Moshe was distressed that he could not account for 1000 measures of the silver donated for the Tabernacle. A lesson in accountability.

To be human is to be responsible - and accountable

The private and public Sabbath

Denying the concept of Shabbat to keep personal freedom is like a person who drills a hole under a seat on a boat, saying it is his right..

The private and public Sabbath

Ki Tisa: How could they do it?

There is a Yiddish phrase that translates as "general society is malleable and foolish". The most outlandish of ideas can gain traction.

Ki Tisa: How could they do it?

All the holy days of the Jewish calendar require planning time

Rosh Hashana, Pesach, Sukkot and Shabbat have activities leading up to them. That answers a question in our parasha about the menorah's oil.

All the holy days of the Jewish calendar require planning time

Moses was the first Jewish fundraiser

He was doing them a favor. And it is still doing a favor for Jews in requesting their help in building Torah in the land of Israel..

Moses was the first Jewish fundraiser

The flesh and sinews of Jewish law

The basic question is the problem of defining the behavior that we wish to accompany our lofty moral goals. Where is this to be found?

The flesh and sinews of Jewish law

The Conversion Bill will cause more problems than it solves

There are hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Israelis not interested in a halakhic conversion or a lifestyle of any Torah observance.Op-ed.

The Conversion Bill will cause more problems than it solves