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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

DISTRACTIONS AND DIVERSIONS 9/5/2017 03:05 PM

We are all aware that our best laid plans and visions of our future are upset when life itself intervenes. We are always blindsided by unforeseen events. We are prone to be distracted and diverted by rather petty, small and even inconsequential events. The great issues that face and even bedevil the Jewish people and the Jewish state rarely receive the attention that they obviously deserve. A...

LOST CAUSES 8/28/2017 01:02 PM

The tendency of us old folks is to glorify the past generation of the days of our youth and to be skeptical of the motives and behavior of current generations. This tendency is so universal and pronounced that King Solomon in Kohelet warns us against so thinking for it is not out of wisdom that we believe it to be so. Yet I cannot help but in my mind compare the great causes that dominated the...

FAKE RELIGION 7/30/2017 04:02 PM

One of the many troublesome trends existing in our societies is the elevation of issues that are basically political and even monetary, to the level of religious faith and practice. The current struggle, mainly in the media and not so much on the ground itself, regarding the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount, is an example of making a security and political issue into a matter...

DISASTER AND REBIRTH 7/23/2017 01:10 PM

The remarkable lesson of the Jewish commemoration of the destruction of our Temples many centuries ago is not only that this commemoration continues to pain us but that, ironically, it almost unexpectedly provides us with hope and fortitude for a brighter future. This fact is emphasized to us in the statement of the Talmud that the time of the Messiah began on the day that the Temples were...

ON BEING A SKEPTIC 7/9/2017 02:24 PM

One of the great challenges in life is retaining belief and optimism regarding humans when one is, in one's heart of hearts, a confirmed skeptic. This challenge is corroborated for us by King Solomon, considered the wisest of all humans, in his monumental work, the book of Kohelet. There is a great deal of difference between realism and skepticism on one hand, and pessimism and depression on the...

POLITICS AS RELIGION 6/25/2017 01:01 PM

One of the interesting societal phenomena of our time, both in Jewish and general society, is the elevation of political beliefs and ideas to the level of faith and religion itself. For most of American Jewry, values of the progressive Left have become an ersatz Judaism, treasured and followed and reflected in the pronouncements and stance of much of what passes today as Reform and Conservative...

JUST CANNOT LET GO 6/18/2017 03:51 PM

Ideologies and long-held beliefs die hard, even when they have long been surpassed by events and circumstances. Those who believed in them and promulgated them find it difficult, if not impossible, to adjust to the reality of the current actual situation. There are many examples of this present in today's world. There still are anarchists and Marxists in academia and in other influential...

THE WORLD IS A MESS 6/12/2017 02:54 PM

The political turmoil that is currently developing in major countries of the world only serves to underscore the uncertainty of life and events. Things never turn out the way we envision them to happen. The continuing destabilization of the Trump administration in the United States is deeply troubling and potentially very dangerous. Sidetracked by all sorts of self-inflicted wounds, President...

PRIVILEGES AND RIGHTS 5/28/2017 12:06 PM

The nature of human beings is to automatically transfer that which begins as a privilege – an extra perk in life – into a right, something that the person is automatically entitled to have. No one ever wants to experience the loss of the privilege or boon that one once attained. A reduction in salary, loss of a professional or commercial title, the defeats suffered in an election, all of...

B’HAR – B’CHKOTAI 5/14/2017 02:33 PM

The book of Vayikra, which contains so many detailed commandments and minute details of ritual within it, concludes with a broad view and general description of Jewish faith. It restates the original premise of Bereshith, that the earth and its inhabitants belong to God and are free agents as to the limits that God has imposed upon them. The basic premise is that “the earth belongs to...