- Creation - The Biblical account of
Creation carries with it the eternal lesson that our world is ordered and that
there is a purpose to humanity and its history. Citing such Torah giants as
the Vilna Gaon and Maimonides, Rabbi Wein examines the story of Creation from
a scientific point of view, debunking the theory of evolution and making a
compelling case for Intelligent Design.
- Man and Civilization - Adam's sin with
the Tree of Knowledge plunged humanity into an imperfect world, and man's
response to this imperfection occurs on both the physical and spiritual
planes. Citing the Torah and Midrashim, Rabbi Wein demonstrates humanity's
progress to the Bronze Age, but more importantly, he explains the
psychological and spiritual imprint we all bear as a result of Adam's sin.
- The Flood - More than just a child's
Bible story, the story of Noah and the Ark is a moral lesson of historic
proportions. Hear the story retold from an adult perspective, complete with
archaeological detail and philosophical analysis.
- Nimrod, Babel and Paganism - The ten
generations between Noah and Abraham changed at least tenfold in technological
development. Unfortunately, technological development occurs faster than
spiritual development and in fact, is often at odds with it. Therefore, these
years were warlike, idolatrous, and chaotic. From this world emerged Nimrod,
the first tyrant in history.
- Abraham - The rabbis teach us that the
events in the lives of our forefathers are indicators for what will take place
in our own, and this is probably truest of the patriarch Abraham. His covenant
with God has preserved us, his children, through millennia of trials and
tribulations. Named "the father of many nations," his exemplary life is a
model for all of humanity.
- Isaac - Because Abraham brought morality
to the world, he left it more peaceful for Isaac. Yet while Isaac did not have
to make war against other nations, he did live with struggle, even within his
own house. With Midrashim and Torah commentary, Rabbi Wein examines the life
of Isaac, his blindness to the faults of his son Esau, and the moment of
revelation in which he grasps Jacob's superiority.
- Jacob - Leading a life of truth in a
crooked world was the challenge of Jacob's life. Whether it was his brother
Esau or his father-in-law Laban, Jacob was forced into the paradox of learning
trickery to maintain integrity. Rabbi Wein explores the meaning of this
apparent contradiction and demonstrates the legacy with which our father Jacob
- The Family of Israel - The Jewish people
is a nation of individualists and this was clear early on from the distinct
personalities of Jacob's twelve sons. Rabbi Wein analyzes the deathbed
blessings Jacob gave to each. From the competition between Judah and Joseph to
the partnership of Issachar and Zebulun, this lecture will deepen your
appreciation of the unique personalities that comprise 12 tribes of
- Egypt, Feudalism and Imperialism -
Egyptology meets Bible history in this fascinating lecture. With an analysis
of the history and culture of Ancient Egypt, Rabbi Wein provides the backdrop
of the story of Jewish enslavement in world history's earliest empire.
- Israel and Egypt - The Talmudic rabbis
teach that the Jewish sojourn in Egypt set the pattern for all future exiles.
At first, with Joseph at the helm of political power, the Jews enjoyed a
"protected minority" status in Egypt, but in the final 80 years, Egypt turned
against them, conscripting them into slavery and attempting genocide against
them. With heartrending details of Jewish suffering before the Exodus, Rabbi
Wein draws a chillingly accurate parallel between Ancient Egypt and Nazi
- The Exodus - The miracles surrounding
the Exodus from Egypt are both a watershed event in Jewish history and make up
the most exciting sections of the Bible. Yet for all the numerous miracles God
performed on behalf of the Jews - the ten plagues, the splitting of the Reed
Sea, and the manna that sustained them in the desert - Jewish faith is based
on a commitment independent of miracles. That commitment is the Torah, the
ultimate purpose of our freedom.
- Joshua & Judges - Of all phases
of in Biblical history, the period of Judges is the closest parallel to our
present world. The Jews were restored to their rightful homeland in the Land
of Israel, but they were not unified. Even the Mishkan lost much of its
centrality to the Jewish people. Rabbi Wein illustrates this fractious period
in which the Jews were beset by internal and external wars, never to be
resolved until the rising of Deborah the Prophetess whose victory won the Jews
40 years of peace.
- Judges - The later Judges in
Israel were a varied group, but each was uniquely suited to lead his
generation. Rabbi Wein retells the pivotal events under the rules of Gideon,
Jephtah, and Samson. Each was a fearsome warrior, and in the cases of Jephtah
and Samson, their lives were wrought with controversy.
- Samuel and Saul - The Talmudic Rabbis
teach that Samuel was equal to Moses and Aharon for his unification of the
Jewish people and strengthening them in the path of Torah. Despite this, the
Jewish people opted to replace him with a king, so he anointed the humble and
righteous Saul. Saul's tragic descent is the result of human weakness in the
face of power, an eternal and sobering moral lesson.
- David - David is the "renaissance man"
of Biblical history: Torah scholar, warrior, Psalmist, and king. But like many
men of talent, he attracted jealousy and was beset by enemies his entire life,
from King Saul to his own sons. Rabbi Wein examines the glorious
accomplishments of King David who led the Jews into their Golden Age and whose
reign is the forerunner of the Messianic era.
- Solomon - The Jewish people reached its
peak under the reign of King Solomon, but with every rise comes a fall. Called
"the wisest of all men," King Solomon is a particularly complex figure in the
Bible. Rabbi Wein attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory accounts
of Solomon within Torah commentary, bringing us a very human and tragic
- The Divided Kingdom - The events that
led to the division of the kingdom of Israel show how the arrogance of a few
powerful men can have repercussions that last for centuries. Yerovam began his
career as a religious zealot and critic of King Solomon, but he ended it as
one of the great villains of Jewish history, an idolatrous king who led ten of
the twelve tribes into grievous sin. This absorbing lesson from the ancients
reminds us of a pattern oft-repeated in history, that egotism can destroy not
only one man, but an entire people.
- The Prophets - Though prophecy is not
exclusive to the Jewish people, Jewish prophets occupied a different role than
any other prophets. While non-Jews consulted their prophets as oracles, Jewish
prophets were messengers of G-d and therefore the conscience of the Jewish
people. Each prophet delivered his message in his own individual style, and
Rabbi Wein sheds light on their contributions as well as on how this
supernatural phenomenon was manifest.
- Elijah, Aram and Shomron - Elijah the
Prophet is probably the best known yet most mysterious of all the Jewish
prophets. He rose to prominence at a time when the idolatrous King Ahab and
Queen Jezebel forced all prophets into hiding, but he nonetheless stood firm
and continued to exhort the Jewish people to return to G-d. Join Rabbi Wein in
an exciting retelling of this famous Bible story, climaxing in the show-down
at Mt. Carmel.
- The Fall of the North Kingdom - A Jewish
nation based on idolatry is doomed to fall, and that is precisely what
happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. After centuries of war and power
struggle, Sanherib overtook the kingdom and sent the 10 tribes of Israel into
exile, a tragedy from which the Jewish people has not yet overcome.
- The Judean Monarchy - The dynasty of the
House of David presents a mixed picture. In an almost steady pattern, each
succeeding king since Solomon was by turns righteous or an idolater, so that
each king reversed whatever his predecessor accomplished. Rabbi Wein outlines
the centuries of Davidic rule over the kingdom of Judea and points out the
fatal error that made the exile inevitable.
- Hezekiah, Isaiah and Manesseh - Nothing
is as tragic as a lost opportunity, and this is what King Hezekiah represented
in Jewish history. He had the potential to be the Messiah and bring the
redemption, but his own mistakes prevented it. Rabbi Wein delves into the
reign of this great king, his conflicted relationship with his wicked son
Manasseh, and his interplay with Isaiah, the most poetic of all Jewish
- Jeremiah - Because they were messengers
of morality, the prophets were often unpopular, but Jeremiah, who prophesied
the exile and the destruction of the Temple, was actually assaulted by the
Jewish people. Yet despite this ill-treatment and despite seeing his
prophecies fulfilled, he never lost hope and continued to pray for the Jewish
people. Rabbi Wein's moving presentation of the life of Jeremiah is certain to
inspire all listeners.
- Yohoyochin - "The Jewish Caligula"
Yohoyochim was one of the last kings of Judea who was not only an idolater, he
was responsible for the torture of the prophet Jeremiah. His son and successor
Yohoyochin began his reign with a cruelty equaling his father's but in a
dramatic turn of events, accepted Jeremiah's prophecy and returned to the ways
of Hashem. With vivid illustrations from Tanach and Medrash, Rabbi Wein
captures the spirit of the tumultuous years before the exile and delivers a
powerful message about repentance.
- Assyria and Babylonia - These two
idolatrous empires were the places of exile for the Jews of the Northern
Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judea respectively. Each had a
distinct approach to dealing with the Jewish people, and by understanding
their relationship to the Jews and their relationship to each other, we learn
about one of the most important phases of Jewish history.
- Zedekiah - One of the bitter ironies of
Jewish history is that Zedekiah, the final king of Judea, was a righteous man
who was nevertheless unable to hold the kingdom together against the onslaught
of Babylonia. Rabbi Wein explores the political intrigue and failed rebellion
that led to the most profound tragedy of Jewish history, the destruction of
the First Temple.
- Destruction of First Temple - The
destruction of the First Temple was more than a pivotal event in Jewish
history, it was a radical shift in our relationship with God. In this
memorable lecture, Rabbi Wein addresses the spiritual and philosophical
questions raised by the loss of the Temple and sheds light on the insights
given by the Talmudic rabbis.
- Gedalya and Egypt - Jewish political
intrigue did not end with the destruction of the Temple; rather, a small group
who remained in the Land of Israel schemed to re-conquer Jerusalem. Rabbi Wein
details their failed coup which led to the assassination of Gedalya and the
deaths of many other Jews. These harrowing events, commemorated by a fast
during the 10 Days of Repentance, carry a message of how even the righteous
- The Babylonian Exile - Though the Jews
suffered much cruelty at the hands of the Babylonians as they went into exile,
within one generation, that cruelty ended and the exile became bearable. In
fact, the Jewish community so flourished in Babylonia that the majority
refused to leave when the prophet Ezra sounded the call to return to the Land
of Israel. Drawing on the parallel to our comfortable and modern world, Rabbi
Wein describes the conditions of the Babylonian exile and shows how the events
of Purim represented a wake-up call to the Jewish people.