Saturday, June 15th 2024   |

Commentaries

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...

Person in the Parsha: CHUKAT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

THE MANY SONGS OF LEADERSHIP

Everyone has his or her own voice. Some express it loudly and clearly; some just mumble or whisper. There are those who let their voices be heard only in their professional lives and are silent and withdrawn at home. Others use their voices only within their families and stifle their voices in the outside world.

Our...

Person in the Parha: KORACH (Shabbat Rosh Chodesh)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

THE SECRET OF REMAINING CORRECT

Very often, we think that if a person is especially spiritual, he cannot possibly be very practical. It is as if religious devotion and good common sense just don’t go together.

My own experience has taught me that, on the contrary, some of the soundest advice I have ever received came from people who spent most of their...

Person in the Parsha: SHELACH

By TZVI HERSH WEINREB

OF GRASSHOPPERS AND JEWISH PRIDE

Just as there were six million victims, so were there at least six million stories. One of those stories seems to have occurred many times, because I’ve heard it told by quite a few survivors. It is the story of two or more Jews, witnessing the sadistic and murderous scenes around them, but momentarily spared from being victims themselves.

...

Person in the Parsha: BEHA’ALOTECHA

By TZVI HERSH WEINREB

HUMBLE, NOT WEAK

I don’t usually disagree publicly with lecturers, particularly when they are expressing opinions which are mostly consistent with my own. But there was one time when I felt that I had to speak up and object to one of the speaker’s expressions.

It was at a lecture on the subject of self-absorption. The speaker characterized the time we live...

Person in the Parsha: NASO

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

UNIFORMITY AND UNIQUENESS

One of the interesting paradoxes of human life is our tendency to copy one another and to try to “fit in” with friends and acquaintances, while simultaneously trying to be distinct from others, and to be our “own person.”

The pressures of conformity are very strong in all human societies. People who are different are often treated as outcasts. And...

Person in the Parsha: BEMIDBAR (SHAVUOT)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

FLOURISHING IN THE DESERT

I trace back my love of poetry to Mr. Perle. He taught freshman English in the high school I attended. I remember him as diminutive in stature, but not at all diminutive in his ability to inspire reluctant students to read, and to actually enjoy, fine literature.

He had a way of finding poets and poems that we could...