Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Modern history

AGING 9/13/2016 12:35 PM

One of the more sobering and poignant prayers in this season of reflection, is the one that states: “Do not throw us away in our time of old age; as our physical strength wanes, do not forsake us.” That stark prayer pretty much dispels the notion of the “golden years.” Humans are created and born into toil and challenges and these do not diminish – in fact they usually are exacerbated...

I DON’T KNOW 8/1/2016 02:10 PM

My dear friend and esteemed member of our congregation, Professor Robert Aumann, told me a thoroughly wonderful story with a deep moral message. He had gone to visit the late, great Rabbi Gustman in the hospital where the rabbi was being treated for a sore on his foot. His physician was the famed Dr. Heiman, an exceptional person in his own right. The doctor came into the room and told Rabbi...

A MESSY WORLD 7/11/2016 03:50 PM

It is fairly obvious to any unbiased observer of our current world scene that things are pretty messy right now. The economic markets are reeling from the unexpected decision of the British electorate to leave the European Union. The sectarian wars in the Moslem world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia continue without mercy, without abatement and with no exit strategy in...

POST-PURIM HANGOVER 3/28/2016 01:58 PM

Now that the holiday of Purim is safely behind us, many find themselves suffering from a state we call the hangover. There are those who are suffering from this hangover in a literal sense – too much drink, too much food…just too much. Well, a long nap and an analgesic to soothe the stomach and a cold compress for the headache will eventually provide relief for this type of post-Purim...

BETTER TIMES 3/6/2016 01:07 AM

One of the more memorable sentences in modern English literature is: “It was the best of all times; it was the worst of all times.” This view of life and current society is a variant on the theme of the half empty, half-full glass conundrum. In effect, there are always opposing views as to the state of humanity, society and for us, the Jewish people the world over, in any given generation. In...

JUSTICE SCALIA 2/21/2016 02:49 PM

Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last week. He served as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court for the past thirty years. He was a brilliant jurist, an acerbic wit, a kind gentleman and a devout Roman Catholic. He was a strict constructionist of the American constitution, often stating that the simple language of the constitution should not be reinterpreted and twisted in...

THE MESSENGER AND THE MESSAGE 2/7/2016 04:02 PM

Recently, the Secretary General of the United Nations commented, at last, on all of the terrorism against Israeli citizens perpetrated by many Palestinians. In essence, he said that the Israelis had it coming to them since they have been unable to satisfy all of the outrageous demands of the Palestinians that would automatically bring peace and light to our troubled land. Both the Prime...

WINTER BLUES 2/1/2016 12:15 PM

Having lived in Israel for the past nineteen years, memories of winter in Monsey, New York have faded from my memory. That is not all that has faded from my memory but that is a different matter for a different discussion. Finding myself in Monsey at this time of the year, I have been experiencing weather that has been cold and very snowy. It is mid-winter here in the northeastern part of the...

THE NON-SLIP TALIT 1/17/2016 07:25 AM

A dear friend and rabbinic colleague of mine casually mentioned to me that as a gift for his birthday his wife presented him with a new tallit - the kind that does not constantly slip off of one’s shoulders when in prayerful use. I was intrigued by this revelation on two counts. There are still spouses around who give each other birthday gifts?! And, secondly, is it possible that technology has...

HATERS AND PROBLEMS 12/28/2015 01:43 PM

Hate is a very powerful emotion. It generates skewed vision, violent behavior, and in historical terms, national and personal disasters. There are many causes for hatred. Jealousy, indoctrination, feelings of revenge and suspicions (many times completely unfounded)are just a few. But the most lethal forms of hatred that usually unleash killing and mayhem are those that are religiously or...