Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

POST-TISHA B’AV THOUGHTS 7/27/2015 12:45 PM

I spent the better part of the afternoon of Tisha B’Av reading a book recently published concerning the history of Chicago's Orthodox rabbinate from the late 1800s to the middle of the twentieth century. The book has special meaning to me since I knew many of the rabbis described in the book during my early years in Chicago a half-century ago. Also the fact that my father and grandfather...

HUMAN NATURE 7/13/2015 01:39 PM

In a rapidly changing world of technology, advances in medicine and ever shifting social mores, there remains one constant in life and that is the unchanging nature of human beings. No matter how clearly the failures of the past are recorded for us, we seem determined to repeat those errors. This is especially and poignantly true when considering that we have now entered the time of contemplation...

GOING SHOPPING 7/5/2015 02:14 PM

Those who know me will testify that I am not a person who enjoys shopping. There are people who simply love to go shopping. In fact there is an entire human activity, bordering on an industry, called ”going shopping.” And there are many practitioners of this activity and I am not merely speaking of window shopping, which is an entirely different genre by itself, but I am talking about real...

LOSING TEAMS 6/28/2015 01:42 PM

I have always felt that part of the attraction of sports, especially professional sports, leagues and teams, is that it somehow represents a metaphor for general life. One of the great ongoing mysteries of sports is the loyalty that losing teams continue to exercise over their fan base year after year and even decade after decade. The Chicago Cubs have not won a championship in major league...

FACT AND OPINION 6/15/2015 01:10 PM

One of my daughters told me a wonderful story last week – a story that I have already used in one of my public lectures here in Jerusalem. The story goes as follows: A third-grade child that attends a Jewish day school in the United States has two teachers – one for religious Hebrew studies and one for the general studies program. The general studies teacher was trying to explain to her...

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...