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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

IT IS OUR FAULT – REALLY? 2/23/2015 12:56 PM

The Israeli ambassador to Sweden was interviewed this week on a radio station in Stockholm. He was being interviewed in connection with the recent killing of a Jewish security guard outside of the synagogue in Copenhagen. The charming woman interviewer, after the ambassador expressed is horror and disgust over the matter, asked him: “Don’t you think that the Jews also have to shoulder some...

NONSENSE 2/16/2015 03:46 PM

The famous legend is that while Rome burned to the ground, its emperor Nero entertained himself by fiddling on his violin. The current election campaign in Israel reminds me of that legend. Every nonsensical issue from returning used bottles and pocketing the deposits to the current contempts regarding the appointment, firing and reappointment of avowed leftists as judges for the awarding of the...

הבלים 2/15/2015 05:41 PM

האגדה המפורסמת מספרת שכאשר רומא נשרפה עד היסוד, הקיסר נירון שעשע את עצמו בנגינה בכינורו. מערכת הבחירות הנוכחית בישראל מזכירה לי את האגדה הזאת. כל נושא מטופש - החל מהחזרת בקבוקים משומשים וגניבת כספי הפיקדון ועד הוויכוח...

EXPECTATIONS 2/8/2015 07:17 AM

A great deal of our reactions to events is dependent upon what our previous expectations regarding those events or personalities were. If we have very high expectations of success, morality or altruistic behavior from our individual leaders, be they political or religious, national or personal, we are invariably doomed to disappointment - the higher the expectation, the more bruising the...

MISHPATIM 2/8/2015 05:36 AM

One of the most puzzling, if not even disturbing subjects, discussed in biblical and halachic detail, appears in this week’s Torah reading. That subject matter concerns itself with the institution of slavery – of literally owning another human being and defining them as human chattel. Certainly, the entire subject matter grates on the ears and sensibilities of Western citizens in our current...

ציפיות 2/6/2015 03:07 PM

חלק גדול מהתגובות שלנו לדברים שמתרחשים נקבע על פי הציפיות שהיו לנו מהאירועים או מהאנשים הנוגעים בדבר. כשיש לנו ציפיות גדולות להצלחה, למוסריות ולהתנהגות אלטרואיסטית מהמנהיגים שלנו, בין אם הם פוליטיים או דתיים, לאומיים...

FORTUNE AND EQUALITY 1/26/2015 01:36 PM

One of the more popular and populist social and electoral issues here in Israel and in the rest of the Western world as well, is rectifying the seeming inequality of the distribution of wealth. The upper five percent of the population, in terms of wealth worldwide, control close to eighty percent of the wealth of the societies that they inhabit. In order to correct this seemingly unfair...

UPS AND DOWNS 12/29/2014 11:19 AM

Though every election in Israel is full of surprises, because we are a restless and constantly dissatisfied people there is a pattern that has emerged from all of the previous nineteen elections that have bedeviled us over the past sixty-six years. The pattern includes constant fragmentation of existing parties as personal ambition and rigid ideology overtake practical and achievable goals. ...

EUROPE IS GONE 12/24/2014 11:42 AM

What can one say about Europe? I imagine that if one wants to be bitterly truthful then one could easily say that Hitler has in effect triumphed. He branded the Jews as the root of all troubles and proclaimed that the “final” and only solution to the “Jewish problem” was to eradicate all Jews from the face of the earth. And as we all know, he followed through on his genocidal program. ...

LOOSE CHANGE 12/8/2014 01:13 PM

One of the most clichéd and oft-used words that mark election campaigns, such as the one we are now beginning to undergo here in Israel, is “change.” One of the basic human drives is to achieve change for the better in one's personal life and in the national life of the country where one resides. Barack Obama was elected president of the United States on the promise of change. Whether...