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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

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...

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...

A GENERATION DEPARTS 6/16/2014 12:43 PM

Time inexorably does its work. King Solomon ruefully pointed out that “Generations come and generations leave and yet the earth itself eternally remains.” The generation that experienced World War II and the Holocaust Jews who lived through it is rapidly departing from our midst. At the seventieth D-Day commemorative ceremonies two weeks ago very few actual participants in that great venture...

תפילה לשלום 6/9/2014 12:37 PM

התפילה הציבורית המדוברת למען שלום ופיוס בין ישראל לרשות הפלשתינית התקיימה השבוע בוותיקן ברומא. האירוע התקיים בחסותו ובמשכנו של האפיפיור פרנסיסקוס, והשתתפו בו מנהיגים דתיים וכמרים בכירים משלוש הדתות המונותיאיסטיות...

GREAT-GRANDFATHERHOOD 6/2/2014 01:14 PM

After a very long and busy tour of the United States on behalf of Destiny Foundation I was finally scheduled to return to Israel and my beloved congregation. But my granddaughter in New York gave birth to a baby boy a few days before my scheduled departure to Israel. Faced with a difficult decision as to whether to stay for the brit or not, I thought to myself: “There are many rabbis around...

SHAVUOT 5/27/2014 12:26 PM

A strange people, we Jews. The national spiritual holiday of the Jewish people – in the words of the Torah itself, ‘the day you became a nation’ – is the one-day holiday (in Israel) of Shavuot. Even though the Torah itself describes the holiday in terms of the commandment of bringing the first fruits as an offering in the Temple in Jerusalem, Jewish tradition has highlighted the holiday...