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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

VAYEITZEI

Monday, December 5, 2016

Yaakov is forced to flee from home and family because of the threat that his brother Eisav poses. He is informed by his mother that his brother, in a moment of jealousy, frustration and anger, threatened to kill him. Yaakov is no physical weakling; he is not the pale yeshiva student, the caricature of nineteenth century Haskalah literature. In fact, we see in this week's Torah reading the description of the great physical strength of Yaakov. He is able to single-handedly remove the rock that covers the well of water, a task that requires many ordinary people to do so in concert. Later in the biblical narrative of his life, we will see how he is able to wrestle with an angel and prevail...

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DIFFICULT DECISIONS

Monday, December 5, 2016

Part of the tradition of rabbinic jurisprudence is that courts of law should attempt at almost all costs to arrive at a compromise/arbitration decision rather than attempt to enforce the letter of the law. This is undoubtedly because of the fact that true justice is often beyond the abilities and capabilities of ordinary humans. In all major decisions in life there are always, so to speak, winners and losers. This is certainly true when two adversarial parties are involved, and decisions must be rendered that apparently benefit one and damage the other. Also, there always is the question of the public good, the overall impression that the decision may make upon the general society, the...

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