Friday, July 30th 2021   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: DEVARIM (Shabbat Chazon)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

THE JEWISH OBSESSION

The popular media often accuses the Jewish people of an obsession. Some accuse us good-humoredly of an obsession with food. Others maliciously accuse us of being obsessed with money. I agree that there is a Jewish obsession. I maintain that it is justice with which we are obsessed.

I define an obsession as an idea which dominates our...

Person in the Parsha: BEHAR

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ANNIVERSARY, BIRTHDAY, JUBILEE!

My father, may he rest in peace, worked for many years in the garment industry. He worked hard, and there were times when he was without a job. I remember how happy we were as children when he found secure employment in a company which manufactured ladies’ apparel, known as “Jubilee Blouse Company”.

I was very young at the time,...

Parsha Maasai: The secret to happiness

By DAVID MOELLER

This week’s Torah portion opens with “These are the journeys of the Children of Israel” and proceeds to enumerate every travel station, however long or short the stay there, from the time the Jews left Egypt until their current position – at the threshold of entering the Promised Land, the land of Israel. The Sages tell us that the Torah is not a ‘story book’ and that...

Person in Parsha: MASEI

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ZIONISM

There must be at least a thousand jokes that begin, “A Catholic priest, an Orthodox rabbi, and a Protestant minister enter a bar….” I’ll begin this week’s column with a story about a Catholic priest, an Orthodox rabbi, and a fine Jewish layman. They won’t be entering a bar together, that’s for sure. They won’t even be sitting face-to-face. But they will...

Parsha Matos: Caution of loshon hora

By DAVID MOELLER

This week’s Torah portion Matos begins with a lengthy discourse on the laws of promises, oaths and verbal commitments. The laws are somewhat complicated, and the Torah goes to great lengths to elucidate them all.

Why so, when for other mitzvahs it mentions relatively few details, and the rest is learned through the Oral Law? For example, the laws of Shabbos are not elaborated upon in the...

Person in the Parsha: MATOT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

HONESTY AND INTEGRITY

Every so often, I come across a sentence of another person’s writing which expresses one of my own thoughts in a language far superior to my own. Over the years, I have contemplated and written about the concepts of “honesty” and “integrity” and the difference between the two.

But never was I able to articulate their precise definitions...

Person in the Parsha: PINCHAS

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

TOLERANCE FOR INDIVIDUALITY

Every parent knows this fact, and every teacher can confirm it. No two children are alike. Every mother of more than one child knows that all children are already different in the womb. Every experienced teacher knows that no two pupils learn in the exact same manner.

Indeed, it is the recognition of individual differences and knowledge...

Person in the Parsha: BALAK

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WHO WAS YOUR TEACHER?

Except for the saints among us, we all boast. Sometimes we boast about our own natural endowments, our good looks, or our athletic prowess. Often we boast about our achievements, social or professional.

There is one type of boasting that seems to be unique to the traditional Jewish community. That is a boasting not about oneself, but rather about...

Person in the Parsha: CHUKAT (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

LET ME REPEAT

The poem had a place of prominence on our kitchen bulletin board for many years. We had clipped it from a women’s magazine, and although it was too sugary and sentimental for my personal literary taste, it was very encouraging to my wife and me as we raised our teenage daughters. The poem was written by an early middle-aged mother...

Person in the Parsha: KORACH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

TWO JEWS, THREE OPINIONS

We all nod our heads in agreement when we hear the phrase, “Two Jews, three opinions.” We similarly chuckle when we hear the anecdote about the Jew who was discovered after years of living alone on a desert island. His rescuers noticed that he had built two huts aside from the one he lived in. He told...