Rabbi Weinreb's weekly email includes a personal message as well as his Parsha column.

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Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Metzora and Shabbat HaGadol
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“Pinkus the Peddler” He was a character straight out of the novels of Charles Dickens. Scholars have long found Dickens’ attitude toward Jews problematic. The character Fagin in the novel Oliver Twist is certainly a negative stereotype, but many are unaware of the character named Riah in Dickens’ last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend. Riah […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Vayikra
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“Purim in Hell” The Jewish calendar is punctuated by many happy occasions. The Torah requires us to celebrate three major festivals—Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot—and to do so joyously. Our Sages instituted two additional festive holidays, Chanukah and Purim. Without question, it is this latter holiday that evokes the greatest exhibitions of joy and gaiety. Already […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Pekudei
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“A Special Spirituality” Classes that I lead on this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38), often evoke questions about the essential nature of religion and spirituality. My students generally agree that these two terms, “religion” and “spirituality,” beg for precise definitions. Seldom, however, does the class reach a consensus about the nature of those […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Tetzaveh
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“Receiving is Giving” There are lessons that one learns in life in the most unusual places. This certainly holds true for practical worldly matters. What is surprising is that even quite lofty spiritual lessons can be learned in settings far removed from the religious school classroom or the yeshiva study hall. Let me tell you […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parsha Column, Mishpatim
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“Truth Be Told” I once taught a class whose purpose it was to introduce Midrashic literature to an audience of very intelligent individuals who previously had only limited experience with primary Jewish texts. It was an introductory course, in which I attempted to expose the students to several simple yet illustrative passages from the vast […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Yitro
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“I Know vs. Now I Know” Assembling complicated gadgets is generally facilitated by the printed instructions that the factory provides. Occasionally, however, there are no instructions, either because of the manufacturer’s negligence or because of his assumption that there is no one out there dumb enough not to be able to figure out how to […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parsha Column, Beshalach
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“Simple Belief, Genuine Belief” There was a time in my college days when I seriously considered majoring in philosophy. The rabbinic training program in the yeshiva that I attended did not include systematic study of the philosophy of religion. We focused instead upon the intensive study of Talmud and the Codes of Jewish Law. Our […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parsha Column, Vayeshev
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“Man Plans, God Laughs” You thought your life would run smoothly, right? We all do. Then, something comes off, tragic or happy, which proves to us that life is not smooth at all, and probably is not supposed to be. Somehow, each of us has a personal script which envisions what our lives will be […]
Strength, Patience, and Hope
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When I was a young boy, I had two distinct images of a strong man. One was of Charles Atlas. Do you remember him? If you do, you are no longer a youngster. Pictures of Charles Atlas appeared on the rear cover of the comic books that I voraciously read as a child. His muscular […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parsha Column, Chayei Sarah
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“Better the Servant Than the Student” “You can’t find decent help these days!” This is a common complaint heard in middle-class homes, particularly in Jewish kitchens during the season of preparations for Passover. Happily, my wife and I have been blessed, over the years, with some excellent domestic help. Usually, they were African-American women who […]