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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

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...

A RETURN TO THE SABBATH 9/15/2014 12:36 PM

During this period of reflective thought, there is one issue that, in my opinion, stands out. And that is the issue of Sabbath observance within the Jewish world. The rabbis of the Talmud placed the Sabbath at the forefront of all the commandments, and essentially as the lodestone of Jewish identity. Sabbath observance brought with it personal trust and cooperation in all social and religious...

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...

CONFUSING ROLES 8/10/2014 09:00 AM

All people are duty bound to try and help other people in need of such help. Rabbis are especially called upon to be available to help others in their times of distress and difficulties. Nevertheless, it is essential for one to be able to recognize one's limitations and true role. Many a rabbi has gotten himself into deep trouble by acting as a psychologist, therapist, financial advisor,...

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...

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH 7/14/2014 01:19 PM

In my many decades as a public speaker I have encountered many reactions to my words. Though most people love me and are enthralled by what I have to say, many times people have somehow vehemently disagreed and have informed me of their negative opinions. Sometimes people have even walked out while I was still speaking to express their displeasure. Once or twice I remember being heckled by...

ומי ילך לנו? 7/7/2014 03:19 PM

בחיזיון הגדול שראה הנביא ישעיהו בשמים בתחילת הקריירה הנבואית שלו, הוא שמע את המילים "את מי אשלח ומי וילך לנו?" הפסוק הזה בספר ישעיהו תמיד סימן בעיניי את הדרך לשפוט מנהיגים יהודים ואנשים חשובים אחרים. יש רגעים בחיים...

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...

מודרנה ומסורת 6/30/2014 03:15 PM

האתגר העיקרי לכל הדתות, ובוודאי ליהדות, במאתיים השנים האחרונות היתה השאלה כיצד להגיב לבעיות שצמחו מתוך החיים המודרניים. החיים המודרניים כוללים, בין היתר, קדמה טכנולוגית, כלכלה גלובלית, רעיונות של חופש אישי ולאומי...

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...