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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

PASSWORDS 2/15/2017 02:30 PM

In a moment of extreme foolishness I recently attempted to pay a credit card bill online through my computer. People of my generation should avoid such risky and dangerous behavior. The computer arrogantly demanded a password in order to log into my account. It also condescendingly informed me that I already had a password and that I should really type it in to get started paying my bill. I...

THE REAL TEST 1/30/2017 04:32 PM

Jewish history has a relatively simple test to determine the survival of movements, ideas and agendas that constantly crop up in Jewish society. That test is one of generational implications. Will those movements, ideas and agendas produce grandchildren and great-grandchildren that will be loyal to those movements and perpetuate them in the future? Because the results of this test cannot be...

OPTIMISM 1/16/2017 04:12 PM

It seems that the intrinsic nature of human beings is to be optimistic about the future and about life generally. This is a very strange phenomenon since it flies in the face of all of human experience and seeming reality. We are all aware that the rule, that whatever can go wrong will eventually go wrong, has had very few exceptions in human history. Therefore, foreign policy or military...

SUPPLY AND DEMAND 11/28/2016 12:54 PM

As we all have been taught in our study of elementary economics, prices and values are established by the law of supply and demand. In theory, the greater the supply, the lower the price. We are witness to this fact of commerce in the current, still relatively inexpensive price of oil, due to the glut of all oil available on the world market. This rule of commerce – supply and demand –...

THAT IS WHAT IT IS 11/7/2016 03:39 PM

There is a great mantra that is repeated very often in Israeli society that basically states “That is what it is.” Basically it is a stoic observation of the never-ending problems, challenges, disappointments and frustrations of life. Many if not even most of these issues are far beyond one’s ability to change or influence. That fact many times serves to make those problems and frustrations...

A TALE OF TWO SEATS 10/31/2016 01:41 PM

I recently flew to the United States from Israel. For various undoubtedly good and sundry reasons that I was unaware of – though many of my fellow passengers who “know” everything about everything had various and conflicting stories as to the cause – El Al was flying a Portuguese airplane and crew on this flight. The airplane was not the one I was familiar with and my seat though being in...

DOING BETTER 10/26/2016 02:15 PM

In a recent article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal one of the opinion writers for that esteemed newspaper wrote a thoughtful piece about his feelings as he embarked on the annual fast day of holiness. The main thrust of his article was that American society can and should do better. It should produce better candidates for the presidency, it should be a more robust society, it should be...

SEEING THE FUTURE 9/19/2016 12:41 PM

I have currently traveled to the United States on personal family matters. I have as of now not engaged in any public appearances and except for my daily, early forays to the synagogue for prayer services, I certainly intended to maintain a low profile while being here. However, a number of unexpected happy events have drawn me out of my intended private protective shell. During my years as a...

AGING 9/13/2016 12:35 PM

One of the more sobering and poignant prayers in this season of reflection, is the one that states: “Do not throw us away in our time of old age; as our physical strength wanes, do not forsake us.” That stark prayer pretty much dispels the notion of the “golden years.” Humans are created and born into toil and challenges and these do not diminish – in fact they usually are exacerbated...

IDEOLOGY AND HUMANENESS 9/6/2016 03:00 PM

I think that history, both ancient and recent, proves that ideologies by their nature are rigid, oftentimes cruel, even murderous and dangerous. Devotion to a cause, no matter how noble by its very nature, places human beings in a secondary and often expendable position. When the cause is so noble and the venture so necessary and the perceived good of the fulfillment of the ideology are so...