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Rabbi Berel Wein

News and updates about Rabbi Berel Wein

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

Pikudei 5782

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

VAYAKHEL 5782

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

Pharaoh at the point of no return

Sometimes the present is predetermined by things done in the past.

Pharaoh at the point of no return

Shemot: The exile pattern

It is easy to see history repeating itself, down to the enthusiastic Egyptization of the tribes during Joseph's lifetime. But later on,..

Shemot: The exile pattern

VAYECHI 5728

A blip on the radar screen

Our father Jacob looks forward to the future, knowing the present, as earthshaking as it may seem, is only a blip on history's radar screen.

A blip on the radar screen

VAYIGASH 5782

Was Jacob aware of what the brothers had done to Joseph?

Parents know that there are things about their children and their progeny that they do not wish to be informed about.Is that the case here?

Was Jacob aware of what the brothers had done to Joseph?

MIKETZ

Heaven's perfect timing

Among the fallacies of human thought is the idea that we not only control events, but have the power to decide when those events take place.

Heaven's perfect timing

Favoritism is a fact in families - how can we we deal with it?

One need not demean others to establish one's own greatness and talents in a family setting. That is a lesson Joseph learned the hard way.

Favoritism is a fact in families - how can we we deal with it?

VAYISHLACH 5782

Facing our own Eisav

Yaakov apparently is done with running, and now turns to face his problems and his adversary, head-on, face-to-face.

Facing our own Eisav

VAYETZE 5782

The master of dreams.

The Talmud teaches us that some dreams have the quality of being a minor type of prophecy.

The master of dreams.

TOLDOT 5782

Should this Torah reading have been called "Yitzchak"?

There is an inherent difference between the generations and genealogy of Noach and that of Yitzchak.

Should this Torah reading have been called "Yitzchak"?

CHAYEI SARAH 5782

What is the "good life"?

Sarah has no illusions about the challenges she will face, having embarked with Abraham on the founding of the Jewish people.

What is the "good life"?

VAYERA 5782

How can one go to school to become a prophet?

Prophecy is one of the highest forms of communication with God. There were, in ancient times, schools that trained people to become prophets

How can one go to school to become a prophet?

Abraham the innovator

Abraham is the first human being recorded as having a normal conversation with his Creator.

Abraham the innovator

Paradise lost

Milton's epic poem describes the impossibility of returning to Paradise once lost. The Torah presents that return as a challenge..

Paradise lost

It's Sukkot - what a relief!

In other climates, having to leave the house for a booth open to the elements may not be such a pleasant experience, but in Israel...

It's Sukkot - what a relief!

Ultimate witnesses

Nature itself, with all its wonders, unpredictability, and beauty is the greatest testimony regarding the covenant between God and Israel.

Ultimate witnesses

Holiday memories

We all feel that it is not only those who are present that are commemorating the holiday, but also those who are no longer with us,

Holiday memories

A binding and unchangeable covenant.

Within the Jewish soul, as part of our DNA so to speak, no matter how far we have strayed, we know that we are a covenantal people,

A binding and unchangeable covenant.

Just send me the link

The right link is the vital component of Jewish survival, both personally and nationally. Op-ed.

Just send me the link

No opinion

Much of life really is governed by the concept of "it all depends". Circumstances change overnight, ideas come and go, Op-ed.

No opinion

Shoftim: Earthly standards for justice

The Torah set standards for us to try and achieve. It never demands the impossible from human beings.

Shoftim: Earthly standards for justice

The "shiputznik" phenomenon - an Israeli saga

There are various causes that necessitate the human desire never to leave well enough alone. Op-ed.

The "shiputznik" phenomenon - an Israeli saga

There are no small choices

Choices all have consequences and later effects that may be unknown to us when we make the choice

There are no small choices

Reward and punishment

What are we to make of the obviously literal lesson that this week's Torah portion seemingly teaches us?

Reward and punishment

Bashert

The aptitude to live and function within the limitations of one's own shortcomings is a great talent which many do not possess.

Bashert

Devarim: Accountability

From Moses, we see that It is impossible for truths to be described without the personality and subjective view of the person doing so.

Devarim: Accountability

People, memory and memorials

Part of the damage that the passage of time inflicts upon us is the inevitable loss of people whose presence in our lives we value. Op-ed.

People, memory and memorials

Mattot-Maasei-joined for calendar convenience or is there more?

There must be a connecting bond, a common denominator that unites these two apparently disparate and different sections of the Torah.

Mattot-Maasei-joined for calendar convenience or is there more?

Zealotry

In theory, pacifism is a noble idea, but with the dangerous world human beings live in, we must ensure evil does not triumph. Op-ed.

Zealotry

Failure

If the Jewish people would prove to be failures in whatever they attempt to accomplish and achieve, then anti-Semitism might lessen. Op-ed.

Failure

Was Moses' punishment asymetric?

Moshe appeared to be confident that he would yet lead his beloved people into the promised land of Israel. It was not to be.

Was Moses' punishment asymetric?

The land of Israel has always posed a problem for some

The fear shown by the spies when Moshe said to bring a report about the land, did not die with that generation of doubters in the desert.

The land of Israel has always posed a problem for some

The elite group

The Levites were a living spiritual force that taught the people and inspired fulfillment of the mission entrusted to Israel at Mount Sinai.

The elite group

Behar-Bechukotai: Life lessons from the Sabbatical Year

We are custodians, not owners, of this world.

Behar-Bechukotai: Life lessons from the Sabbatical Year

Tragedies and humanity

Tragedies occur on a regular basis in all human societies, and they have done so since the beginning of recorded human history. Op-ed.

Tragedies and humanity

Lag Ba'Omer 5781

This semi-holiday is utterly unique in the calendar of the Jewish people.because it commemmorates a passive event.

Lag Ba'Omer 5781

It's all in the details

Isn't it enough to be a good, honest, caring human being without all of the details that make up the bulk of this week’s Torah reading?

It's all in the details

The book of complaints

Rereading complaints often shows their pettiness, unless we would prefer to nurture hurts and frustrations rather than moving on. Op-ed.

The book of complaints

Judaism is pro-family and pro-motherhood

Having and raising children is a positive act of faith in the future, and unlimited generosity towards others.

Judaism is pro-family and pro-motherhood

Keeping kosher

Being a Jew relates also to the body and internal organs of a person, and not only the cerebral notion of religion that many people have.

Keeping kosher

Counting the Omer

Counting days that have passed, as in the Omer, automatically causes us to reflect on what was accomplished and what was left undone.

Counting the Omer

Out of the depths of winter - a society of fear

This pandemic has created is a society of fear, even from those methods that can relieve the fear, along with apathy to the elections. Op-ed

Out of the depths of winter - a society of fear

Where truth can be found

The great Hasidic master of Kotzk continually maintained that truth is always hidden from public view.

Where truth can be found

Fundraising in the Parasha

Heaven placed a great burden on our teacher Moses when it required him to ask the Jewish people to part with their wealth in large sums.

Fundraising in the Parasha

Mutations

Mutations are not strictly limited to viruses. All societies continually mutate, adapt, change and attempt to renew themselves. Opinion.

Mutations

Only voluntary acceptance of discipline can work

There are never enough police to enforce laws, It takes responsibility..That is behind Israel's corona crisis and why the Torah is eternal.

Only voluntary acceptance of discipline can work

The first Jewish bureaucracy was in the desert

Jethro told Moshe, based upon his experience as chief executive priest of Midian, that Moshe's goal was unachievable in this world.

The first Jewish bureaucracy was in the desert

The anti-hero

An anti-hero accomplishes much, but not all he intended to address, he is then rejected by the very people that put him into power, Op-ed.

The anti-hero

Why so many plagues?

G-d could have wreaked just one major plague on Egypt to achieve Jewish freedom. Why were there ten?

Why so many plagues?

Jewish life is not for the faint hearted

Moshe is the most humble and modest of all human-beings, but he is not allowed to be humble and self-effacing when meeting Pharaoh.

Jewish life is not for the faint hearted

Taking a shot

I do not understand the basis for being against this vaccination in certain groups of individuals in the Jewish religious world. Op-ed.

Taking a shot

Jewish history is repetitive: The last words of Jacob and Joseph

The message: Chazak Chazak Venitchazek, to be strong and to strengthen ourselves and others for the tasks that always lie ahead.

Jewish history is repetitive: The last words of Jacob and Joseph