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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

KI TEITZEI

Monday, August 24, 2015

The saga of the captive woman described in this week's Torah reading has always remained a somewhat puzzling subject. The Talmud itself reacts to the realities of war – those young male soldiers and vulnerable female captives – by stating that the Torah is reacting to the natural base desires of men in times of stress and danger. So to speak, the entire matter is a concession to evil instinct and the inability to demand complete control over sexual desires in certain situations. While all of this is undoubtedly true, it does not provide us with a very spiritual explanation of the event as it is portrayed in the Torah. Rashi, following the lead of the Talmud and Midrash, portrays...

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GRATITUDE

Monday, August 24, 2015

The month of Elul brings forth many different emotions, thoughts and insights. It is, after all, meant to be a month of introspection and serious self-analysis. And, one of the values that this month is meant to evoke in our minds and thoughts is that of gratitude. The rabbis of the Talmud saw gratitude as being one of the most basic values of Judaism. Since nothing in life is perfect and we are constantly beset by annoyances, frustrations, dashed hopes and unending pressures, we naturally tend to overlook the positive and to dwell instead on life's negatives. In so doing, we become guilty of ingratitude and narcissistic selfishness. Again, the rabbis of the Talmud stated that as...

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