Thursday, August 11th 2022   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: KI TAVO

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WALLS HAVE EARS

We all have our secret lives.

I don’t mean to say that each of us has a sinister side, which we wickedly act out in some deep, dark, private world. What I do mean is that we all act differently when we are alone, or with a few close intimates, than we act when we are out in public, among...

Person in the Parsha: KI SEITZEI

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

HE IS NOT WHAT HE IS

There is a phrase that one hears quite commonly nowadays: “It is what it is.” There is something that has always disturbed me about that phrase.

To me, the phrase seems to be stating that things will remain as they are and that there is no possibility for change. It conveys a sense of resignation and suggests...

Person in the Parsha: SHOFTIM

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ANARCHY OR UTOPIA?”

Who would you consult if you wanted to know a thing or two about the perfect society? Would you ask a politician? A professor of government? A philosopher expert in theories of utopia? Or perhaps a historian familiar with successful societies across the ages?

Would it even occur to you to ask an entomologist, a scientist who studies insect life?...

Person in the Parsha: RE’EH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ALL THAT GLITTERS

It is difficult to tell you much about my high school friend without disclosing his identity. He is now world-famous, having become a major figure in the field of high finance. So, in the interests of protecting his privacy, I will alter some of the facts of the story I am about to tell. For starters, let’s call him Eugene.

...

Person in the Parsha: EIKEV

By TZVI HERSH WEINREB

DISCIPLINE AND SUFFERING

As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children.

Like in any genre, there are better books and worse books in this...

Person in the Parsha: SHABBAT VA’ETCHANAN (Shabbat Nachamu)

By TZVI HERSH WEINREB

RELIGION IS GOOD FOR YOU

“Religion is good for you.” “A religious person is a mentally healthy person.” Statements such as these could not have been made when I was a graduate student in psychology back in the 1960s. Quite the contrary. The prevalent belief in the mental health profession then was that religion was a neurosis, and that religious people needed to abandon...

Person in the Parsha: DEVARIM (Shabbat Chazon)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WORDS, MERE WORDS

I have kept my time-worn copy of Roget’s Thesaurus in my personal library since I was in the seventh grade. It was given to me by my teacher, a Mr. Zeller, who introduced me to the beauty of language and who first stimulated my fascination with words. He taught me to use this thesaurus in order to use language effectively...

Person in the Parsha: MATOT-MASEI

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 and the...

Person in the Parsha: PINCHAS

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ZEALOTRY AND TOLERANCE

Jewish people teach Jewish values to their children, and to all who wish to be informed about their faith. If one is asked “Should I or should I not?” we generally respond with clear and certain advice: “Yes, you should”, if the value is a positive one, or “No, you should not”, when the value in question demands inaction.

Strangely,...

Person in the Parsha: BALAK

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

BALAAM AND DOESTOEVSKY

Frustration. Disillusionment. But also insight and a lifelong intellectual perspective. That is how I would describe the experience I am about to share with you, dear reader.

It all started with Dostoevsky. That’s right, Fyodor Dostoevsky, the famous 19th century Russian novelist, author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, and much more. His works were strangely...