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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

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...

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,...