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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

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...

THE OLYMPICS 8/15/2016 03:20 PM

The Olympic Games currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are allegedly supposed to be all about sports, fair play and world camaraderie. However, underlying all of the hoopla, spin and fanfare, is the knowledge deep within all of us, that the games are all about money – lots of money for the athletes, promoters, cities involved and the pompous officials who rule the sporting games. ...

TISHA B’AV 8/9/2016 03:22 PM

The Talmud traced the causes for the destruction of the First and Second temples to the spiritual failings and sins of the Jewish people. As those assessments are undoubtedly correct, they are observed in the popular view of the events to be the sole and only causes for these national tragedies. However, it should be obvious to all that failed policies, false assessments of the military and...

I DON’T KNOW 8/1/2016 02:10 PM

My dear friend and esteemed member of our congregation, Professor Robert Aumann, told me a thoroughly wonderful story with a deep moral message. He had gone to visit the late, great Rabbi Gustman in the hospital where the rabbi was being treated for a sore on his foot. His physician was the famed Dr. Heiman, an exceptional person in his own right. The doctor came into the room and told Rabbi...

HARD CHOICES 7/26/2016 02:28 PM

Life consists of a constant series of hard choices that one is forced to make - and this is true of nations as well as of individuals. And, most of the problems of life are caused by the fact that these choices are almost never win – win situations but are rather choices where both are bad options. The Talmud ruefully advises us to choose the least bad alternative available when we are forced...

RABBINIC RESPONSIBILITY 7/18/2016 02:08 PM

Since the myth of rabbinic infallibility has become entrenched, exaggerated and untrue as it may be, it has unwittingly caused many other dire consequences. Since rabbis are somehow not able to discern the future and to be aware of the true motives and behavior patterns of those congregants and strangers who avail themselves of rabbinic services, rabbis are held accountable for the behavior of...

A MESSY WORLD 7/11/2016 03:50 PM

It is fairly obvious to any unbiased observer of our current world scene that things are pretty messy right now. The economic markets are reeling from the unexpected decision of the British electorate to leave the European Union. The sectarian wars in the Moslem world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia continue without mercy, without abatement and with no exit strategy in...

CAUSE AND EFFECT 6/26/2016 12:38 AM

An article entitled: “What’s wrong with Conservative Judaism?” appeared in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Report magazine. This article was authored by Myron M. Fenster, the Rabbi Emeritus of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn, New York, a leading Conservative congregation. As the title of the article indicates, the movement is in trouble due to a dramatic decrease in its number of...

MACHERS 5/29/2016 01:00 PM

Because of the constantly creeping overreach of government into all areas of our lives, a new industry was created here in Israel – and certainly not only in Israel but in every other country and political system in the world. Here in Israel, people who are engaged full time in this industry are called “machers.” Loosely translated from the original Yiddish, the word connotes people who are...