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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

HUMAN NATURE 7/13/2015 01:39 PM

In a rapidly changing world of technology, advances in medicine and ever shifting social mores, there remains one constant in life and that is the unchanging nature of human beings. No matter how clearly the failures of the past are recorded for us, we seem determined to repeat those errors. This is especially and poignantly true when considering that we have now entered the time of contemplation...

PINCHAS 7/5/2015 02:56 PM

There are great challenges in everyone's life. There are natural drives which exist within us that force people to commit sinful behavior. The Talmud succinctly sums up the situation by stating: “Most people steal, a minority of them are sexually immoral and all are covered with the dust of evil speech and slander.” Money is a great temptation and the drive to acquire it is so strong that...

WEIGHING VALUES 6/22/2015 02:40 PM

Almost all of us agree that values, especially those that represent the ideas of democracy and freedom and also our own national self-interest and personal preservation, are vital and necessary for ourselves and the public good. When viewed in isolation, it is easy to be an ardent supporter of any one individual value that fits this criterion of benefit and probity. The problem always arises...

FACT AND OPINION 6/15/2015 01:10 PM

One of my daughters told me a wonderful story last week – a story that I have already used in one of my public lectures here in Jerusalem. The story goes as follows: A third-grade child that attends a Jewish day school in the United States has two teachers – one for religious Hebrew studies and one for the general studies program. The general studies teacher was trying to explain to her...

‘FIFE’ ON FIFA 6/1/2015 01:08 PM

Last week there were many dramas that took place regarding the international soccer association known as FIFA. Many of its top officials were arrested and more were indicted in the United States for brazenly corrupt practices. They were charged with accepting millions of dollars in bribes in assigning venues for the World Cup and other major soccer sporting events. The head of the...

POLLS AND PUNDITS 5/13/2015 01:51 PM

It has been a tough month for the political experts amongst us. There were two major elections that commanded international interest and media coverage. One was here in Israel and the second one just concluded in the United Kingdom. In both instances the media, in the main, was heavily biased towards the Left. Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni and their left of center Zionist Union party was adored by...

ZEITGEIST 4/26/2015 01:04 PM

There is no way that anyone can completely shut the door of one’s religious Jewish home to exclude the influences of prevailing culture from entering our living quarters and influencing our families. The zeitgeist – the prevailing culture of the time and place -has always been a powerful and sometime detrimental force in Jewish history. It was the existing zeitgeist of rampant and...

התבגרות 4/24/2015 01:15 PM

כל הילדים גדלים, כך אנחנו מקווים, ונעשים לאנשים בוגרים עצמאים ויצרנים שיודעים להסתדר בכוחות עצמם. התורה עצמה דוגלת בתהליך הזה כשהיא אומרת לנו "על כן יעזוב איש את אביו ואת אמו" כדי לשאת אישה ולבנות את ביתו ומשפחתו. אך לא...

אידיאולוגיה ומציאות 4/20/2015 01:04 PM

התורה שלנו מתארת את עצמה כתורת חיים. אפשר לפרש את הביטוי הזה בדרכים שונות. הוא יכול להתייחס לעובדה שהתורה נצחית, תוססת ומתחדשת תמיד, מקור ומעיין של חיים – זאת תורת חיים. אך לפי לדעתי הביטוי הזה מבקש לומר שהיא גם, אם לא...

IDEOLOGY AND REALITY 4/19/2015 01:01 PM

The Torah describes itself as a Torat chayim - a Torah of life and living. There are many possible interpretations of this phrase. It can refer to the fact that the Torah is eternal, vibrant and ever renewing, the source and fountain of life – that it is a living Torah. However to my mind, this phrase implies that it is also, if not even primarily so, the Torah of practicality and reality. ...