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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

I’VE GOT YOUR BACK 5/26/2015 12:18 PM

The president of the United States has recently reassured us and proclaimed that “America has Israel’s back”. Given the recent controversies between the prime minister of Israel and the president of the United States, this message was meant to soothe the relationship between the two countries and to allow for a more positive progression of policies that would be in their mutual interest. ...

POLLS AND PUNDITS 5/13/2015 01:51 PM

It has been a tough month for the political experts amongst us. There were two major elections that commanded international interest and media coverage. One was here in Israel and the second one just concluded in the United Kingdom. In both instances the media, in the main, was heavily biased towards the Left. Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni and their left of center Zionist Union party was adored by...

GROWING UP 4/26/2015 02:14 PM

All children grow up and hopefully mature into independent, self-sufficient and productive adults. The Torah itself advocates this process when it states that “therefore every man shall leave his father and mother” in order to marry and build one's own home and family. Growing up is often a painful process for both parents and children. I have often advocated the idea that everyone should...

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...

התבגרות 4/24/2015 01:15 PM

כל הילדים גדלים, כך אנחנו מקווים, ונעשים לאנשים בוגרים עצמאים ויצרנים שיודעים להסתדר בכוחות עצמם. התורה עצמה דוגלת בתהליך הזה כשהיא אומרת לנו "על כן יעזוב איש את אביו ואת אמו" כדי לשאת אישה ולבנות את ביתו ומשפחתו. אך לא...

אידיאולוגיה ומציאות 4/20/2015 01:04 PM

התורה שלנו מתארת את עצמה כתורת חיים. אפשר לפרש את הביטוי הזה בדרכים שונות. הוא יכול להתייחס לעובדה שהתורה נצחית, תוססת ומתחדשת תמיד, מקור ומעיין של חיים – זאת תורת חיים. אך לפי לדעתי הביטוי הזה מבקש לומר שהיא גם, אם לא...

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...