Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Israel/ Zionism

THE RESIDUE OF THE GREAT WAR 10/20/2014 01:45 PM

What is Europe’s problem and hang up with the State of Israel? Why is it so focused on this Middle Eastern conflict, almost to the exclusion of other seemingly greater issues closer to home? Anti-Semitism certainly plays a role in this European fixation regarding Israel but I do not believe that it is the sole, and perhaps not even the main catalyst driving European policies, statements and...

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL 9/8/2014 03:10 PM

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

KI TAVO 9/8/2014 02:35 PM

In this week’s parsha, all of Jewish history is reflected in the two relatively short scenarios that the Torah describes for us. There is the opening section of the parsha – the promise that the Jewish people will come into the Land of Israel, settle there, develop the country, build the Temple and express their gratitude to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon them. They will...

BITTER LESSONS 8/25/2014 12:38 PM

The past has many bitter lessons for the present. Many times the lessons themselves unfortunately provide no answer to current dilemmas since they provided no clear answer to the past dilemmas either. That is what makes these types of historical lessons such bitter ones. It presents the problem in clear perspective but denies us any clear solution to it. One hundred years ago at the...

THIS ONE FEELS DIFFERENT 8/3/2014 01:52 PM

I have been present in Israel for a number of wars that this small, grave country has been forced to endure. Even before I made Aliyah, I was present here during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein rained SCUDs on a then defenseless population here in Israel. Since then I have lived here as an Israeli resident and citizen during the first and second intifada, the second Lebanon war, the...

FECKLESSNESS AND UNWISDOM 7/28/2014 01:38 PM

In Winston Churchill's epic six-volume memoir of the Second World War, in the first volume entitled “The Gathering Storm,” he wrote of the British foreign policy of the 1930s as follows: “[The later disaster was caused by] the English-speaking peoples, [who] through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature, allowed the wicked to rearm." A good nature is a necessity for personal...

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY 7/21/2014 12:54 PM

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...

WHO WILL GO FOR US? 7/7/2014 12:26 PM

In the great vision that the prophet Isaiah witnessed in Heaven at the onset of his immortal prophetic career, he heard a voice that asked: “Who shall I send and who will go for us?" That verse in Isaiah has always been a marker for me as to how to judge Jewish leaders and other people of note. There are moments in life and in history when that question reverberates throughout the Jewish...

בלק 6/30/2014 03:16 PM

פרשת השבוע מציעה לנו את ההזדמנות לפגוש את המייסדים הלא רשמיים של ארגוני זכויות האדם של ימינו. כאן אנחנו רואים את אבות אבותיהם של קתלין אשטון, שרת החוץ של האיחוד האירופי, של מנהיגי הכנסייה הפרסביטריאנית בארה"ב, של...

הנצרות וישראל 6/23/2014 03:07 PM

ידוע לכולם, גם אם כמעט לא דנים בזה בפומבי, שההקמה והקיום של מדינת ישראל יצרו בעיות תיאולוגיות קשות לחלקים מסוימים בקהילה היהודית. אך הקמת מדינת ישראל וקיומה יצרו בעיות תיאולוגיות ורגשיות גדולות אף יותר לחלק גדול...