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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

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...

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. ...

SFIRA 4/9/2015 01:12 PM

Sfira marks the longest-running commandment of the Torah. It occupies forty nine days on the yearly Jewish calendar. It has been encrusted with customs in commemoration of events in Jewish history, some happy and some not so happy. Although most of Sfira is low-key if not even somber, there are minor festival days that are also included during this period of time. Sfira reflects much of what our...

PESACH 3/30/2015 01:48 PM

Someone remarked to me recently that he did not see or feel how anything new could be discussed at his Seder table – everything that could have been said and analyzed had been said over all of the past decades of his commemorating Pesach. I told him that I thought he had too narrow a view concerning the commemoration of Pesach. The broad human and particularly Jewish issues of bondage,...

DISCONNECTION 3/16/2015 01:21 PM

One of the problems that faces religious leadership in the Jewish world, especially the leadership of the great scholars and heads of the leading educational institutions here in Israel, is that there is a chasm of disconnect between them and the masses that they wish to lead and influence. I remember that once when I was a rabbi in Miami Beach many decades ago, a noted Israeli Talmudic...

ניתוק 3/15/2015 01:54 PM

אחת הבעיות שניצבות בפני ההנהגה הדתית של העולם היהודי, במיוחד ההנהגה של הרבנים הגדולים וראשי מוסדות החינוך הדתיים המובילים בישראל, היא העובדה שיש תהום פעורה של נתק בינם לבין ההמונים שהם מבקשים להנהיג ועליהם הם מבקשים...

IMPUDENCE AND IMPOTENCE 3/9/2015 01:57 PM

It has been a strange and difficult winter weather-wise both in the United States and here in Israel. Jerusalem has absorbed two major snowstorms and the country as a whole felt bitter cold and even snow in areas of our land that are certainly not accustomed to such happenings. The United States has been in the grip of an Arctic polar vortex that has made snow and cold very unpopular words over...

חוצפה וחוסר אונים 3/8/2015 02:35 PM

היה זה חורף מוזר וקשה מבחינת מזג האוויר גם בארה"ב וגם כאן, בישראל. את הארץ כולה פקדה צינה עזה, ירושלים "זכתה" לשתי סערות שלג גדולות ושלג ירד אפילו באזורים בארץ שבוודאי אינם מורגלים בתופעות טבע כאלה. ארצות הברית הייתה...

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN 3/2/2015 01:42 PM

One of the great dangers in life, both national and personal, is looking backwards and dwelling upon what could have been, had we but chosen to behave and choose otherwise. There is much to be said for knowing history and appreciating the past. Yet the past, glorious and correct as we may wish to make it in our memory, is simply no longer here and many times it is no longer relevant to the issues...

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...