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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

THE TRUTH HURTS 3/24/2014 12:45 PM

We are all well aware that it is oftentimes not polite or wise to state the whole truth when human sensitivities are involved. The Talmud in one of its famous statements asks the rhetorical question: “If one has purchased an item in the marketplace, should his friend praise the purchase or denigrate it?” The Talmud apparently feels that it is discourteous if not even downright mean to...

THE PAST AND THE PRESENT 3/17/2014 11:46 AM

I received a great deal of comment about my last week’s article on the mental and social regression of a large section of Israeli society. Most of the comments were neither complimentary nor critical but were rather requests for more specifics about the need for change in the mindset of much of Orthodox Jewry here in Israel and in the Diaspora as well. Still under the influence of Purim and...

העבר וההווה 3/16/2014 03:56 PM

קיבלתי הרבה הערות על המאמר שלי בשבוע שעבר על הנסיגה המנטאלית והחברתית של חלק גדול בחברה הישראלית. רוב ההערות לא היו מחמאות או ביקורת אלא בקשות לפרטים נוספים על הצורך בשינוי בהלך הרוח של היהדות האורתודוכסית בישראל וגם...

REGRESSING 3/10/2014 12:52 PM

One of the unfortunate delusions that besets both our general and Jewish societies is that we are somehow advancing in an unbroken line upwards towards better times. We gaze triumphantly at all of the great technological gadgets and medical advances that give us such satisfaction and pride. In the Jewish world we revel in the new freedoms that we now routinely expect and enjoy and in our...

אוקראינה ואנחנו 3/2/2014 12:09 PM

אוקראינה תופסת מקום מדמם וכואב מאוד בהיסטוריה של מזרח אירופה. היא שוכנת בין פולין, אוסטרו-הונגריה ורוסיה, אך איננה פולנית או רוסית בשפתה, בדתה או בתרבותה, ולכן תמיד מצאה את עצמה בסביבה בעייתית. סטאלין וחרושצ'וב גזרו מוות...

A SAD, SAD WORLD 2/24/2014 01:28 PM

There is a well-known anecdote/legend that circulates in the Mussar/yeshiva circles about a young yeshiva student who left the yeshiva world and its environment to find his fortune in far distant fields. At the time that he left the yeshiva he had a beard and dressed modestly as was his Jewish tradition. A decade later he met by chance on the street the head of his former yeshiva. The former...

עולם עצוב-עגום 2/24/2014 01:00 PM

יש אגדה/אנקדוטה מפורסמת שהסתובבה בעולם הישיבות ובתנועת המוסר על בחור ישיבה צעיר שעזב את עולם הישיבה ואת סביבתו כדי לחפש את מזלו במחוזות רחוקים. כשעזב את הישיבה, הוא היה מזוקן ולבוש בצניעות בהתאם למסורתו...

RABBIS AND SAVANTS 1/27/2014 11:06 AM

There was a long and critical article that appeared this past week in one of the Hebrew newspapers here in Israel concerning the role of rabbis in society. There is no question that the role of most rabbis in the United States is far different than what is currently the case in Israeli society. In the United States the rabbi is a far more personal figure. He is a teacher, speaker and...

THE TRUTH OF SATIRE 12/2/2013 03:05 PM

There is a wickedly funny and enormously sad piece of satire making the rounds about a “Lithuanian” charedi father attempting to explain to his inquisitive child the story of the Hasmoneans and their triumph over the Greeks. On the one hand the Hasmoneans were staunch “Lithuanian “charedim who learned all day, while on the other hand they apparently had weapons, organized an army that...

BELIEFS AND REALITIES 8/26/2013 12:45 PM

In matters of faith and religion there always is a struggle between the actualities of life that we physically see and experience and the beliefs that are mostly unable to be seen and proven empirically. To further complicate this matter, one generation’s miracle often turns out to be a different generation’s science. See Mark Twain’s devastating satire of a book “A Connecticut Yankee in...