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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

BACK TO SCHOOL 9/2/2014 01:47 PM

This week marks the return of millions of our children to the regular routine of school. The yeshivot and seminaries of this and other countries have also begun their classroom schedules and study patterns. I think that even though we can all agree that school today is a very necessary part of our society, nevertheless we are also all aware that school contains a downside as well. Not all...

A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE 8/17/2014 01:48 PM

The Jewish nation is described in the Torah as being a stiff- necked people. In the context of that particular Torah discussion this description of the people of Israel is not necessarily a complimentary one. It refers to the stubbornness of the generation of the desert of Sinai and their rebellious nature in constantly refusing to abide by God’s will and to accept Moshe’s authority and...

MODERNITY AND TRADITION 6/30/2014 12:48 PM

The major challenge to all religions and certainly to Judaism over the past two centuries has been the religious reaction to the problems raised by modernity. Modernity encompasses but is not limited to technological progress, a global economy, ideas of personal and national freedom and a search for a more equitable distribution of wealth and well being amongst all human beings. This...

אמת כואבת 3/24/2014 04:02 PM

כולנו יודעים שלעתים קרובות אין זה מן החוכמה או הנימוס לומר את כל האמת, כי יש לבני האדם כל מיני רגישויות. באחת האמירות המפורסמות שלה שואלת הגמרא את השאלה הרטורית "מי שלקח מקח רע מהשוק, ישבחנו בעיניו או יגננו בעיניו?" אם...

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...