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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

A LITTLE TOO JEWISH 2/27/2017 02:27 PM

There were a number of articles written here in the Israeli newspapers about the determined opposition of Reform in America to the appointment of David Friedman as the American ambassador to Israel. The shameful behavior of a number of Jews at the Senate confirmation hearing of Friedman – shofar blowing and all – only points out the great fault line that exists in American Jewish society...

SCANDALS 1/9/2017 02:03 PM

The history of power and influence is always littered with personal scandals. This is evident in all of the words of the great prophets of Israel regarding the rulers and officers of their times. Unfortunately, over the long history of human civilization and of Jewish history as well, religious leaders who profess to represent superior morals and decency many times are tarnished as well by...

CONSISTENCY 12/18/2016 02:46 PM

Consistency, like many other character traits in life that are primarily positive, can turn into a negative trait if carried to an extreme. We are all aware that consistency is essential to good parenting, meaningful education, business and commercial success, as well as to political and governmental stability. Consistency is not necessarily doing things by rote. It is rather the...

COLLEGE CAMPUSES 12/11/2016 04:38 PM

Recently there have appeared in a number of newspapers throughout the United States articles detailing the appalling anti-Semitism that exists currently on many American college campuses. American Jewish youth attend colleges and universities in greater proportion to their population than any other segment of the American public. It can be maintained that theoretically and proportionately...

DIFFICULT DECISIONS 12/5/2016 03:32 PM

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,...

UNPOPULAR LEADERS 11/13/2016 01:05 PM

There have been many instances in human history when people were not universally popular with their subjects and citizens. No ruler has ever had unanimous popularity and approval – witness Moshe and Korach, for example – but like everything else in life, popularity is never absolute but only relative. In elections a candidate that achieves a fifty-five percent majority is deemed to have...

THAT IS WHAT IT IS 11/7/2016 03:39 PM

There is a great mantra that is repeated very often in Israeli society that basically states “That is what it is.” Basically it is a stoic observation of the never-ending problems, challenges, disappointments and frustrations of life. Many if not even most of these issues are far beyond one’s ability to change or influence. That fact many times serves to make those problems and frustrations...

DOING BETTER 10/26/2016 02:15 PM

In a recent article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal one of the opinion writers for that esteemed newspaper wrote a thoughtful piece about his feelings as he embarked on the annual fast day of holiness. The main thrust of his article was that American society can and should do better. It should produce better candidates for the presidency, it should be a more robust society, it should be...

IDEOLOGY AND HUMANENESS 9/6/2016 03:00 PM

I think that history, both ancient and recent, proves that ideologies by their nature are rigid, oftentimes cruel, even murderous and dangerous. Devotion to a cause, no matter how noble by its very nature, places human beings in a secondary and often expendable position. When the cause is so noble and the venture so necessary and the perceived good of the fulfillment of the ideology are so...

THE BROADCASTER 8/29/2016 01:47 PM

Those of you who regularly read my writings, beloved as you are and may be, know that I like to look at the sport of baseball as a metaphor for life. The simplicity, beauty and quirky unexpectedness and uncertainties of the game accurately mirror the events in one’s personal and national life. Therefore, when I recently read an article about a revered baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully, I felt...