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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

PEOPLE 8/13/2017 02:02 PM

Standing on the corner of two major thoroughfares in midtown Manhattan recently I was struck by the number and variety of people walking past. There were hordes of them all purposefully heading towards some appointed place and event. They were a composite of all of humanity, representing every color of human skin, babel of languages, all social strata, faiths and ethnic origins. When I was a...

FAKE RELIGION 7/30/2017 04:02 PM

One of the many troublesome trends existing in our societies is the elevation of issues that are basically political and even monetary, to the level of religious faith and practice. The current struggle, mainly in the media and not so much on the ground itself, regarding the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount, is an example of making a security and political issue into a matter...

DISASTER AND REBIRTH 7/23/2017 01:10 PM

The remarkable lesson of the Jewish commemoration of the destruction of our Temples many centuries ago is not only that this commemoration continues to pain us but that, ironically, it almost unexpectedly provides us with hope and fortitude for a brighter future. This fact is emphasized to us in the statement of the Talmud that the time of the Messiah began on the day that the Temples were...

HOT SUMMERS 7/16/2017 02:50 PM

This summer in Israel appears to be an especially hot one. Of course, the average person is unable to remember past summers, as to what the weather actually was and therefore all comparisons are very subjective. However our only weather bureau has statistics that trace weather patterns over the past century and therefore their comparisons contain some merit. It appears that the weather here,...

ON BEING A SKEPTIC 7/9/2017 02:24 PM

One of the great challenges in life is retaining belief and optimism regarding humans when one is, in one's heart of hearts, a confirmed skeptic. This challenge is corroborated for us by King Solomon, considered the wisest of all humans, in his monumental work, the book of Kohelet. There is a great deal of difference between realism and skepticism on one hand, and pessimism and depression on the...

POLITICS AS RELIGION 6/25/2017 01:01 PM

One of the interesting societal phenomena of our time, both in Jewish and general society, is the elevation of political beliefs and ideas to the level of faith and religion itself. For most of American Jewry, values of the progressive Left have become an ersatz Judaism, treasured and followed and reflected in the pronouncements and stance of much of what passes today as Reform and Conservative...

JUST CANNOT LET GO 6/18/2017 03:51 PM

Ideologies and long-held beliefs die hard, even when they have long been surpassed by events and circumstances. Those who believed in them and promulgated them find it difficult, if not impossible, to adjust to the reality of the current actual situation. There are many examples of this present in today's world. There still are anarchists and Marxists in academia and in other influential...

DREAMS 6/5/2017 05:27 PM

In the English language, the concept of dreams usually has a positive connotation. Negative dreams are call nightmares. In Hebrew, however, the word for dreams is neutral-which connote both positive and happy dreams as well as dreams that are troubling and unpleasant. The subject of dreams is widely discussed in Talmudic and rabbinic writings and in Hebrew literature. In fact there is an entire...

RETURNING HOME 5/14/2017 03:51 PM

I recently returned home to my residence in Jerusalem after an extended stay in the United States. Returning home has always been a difficult and challenging exercise for me. It is not only the enormous amount of mail that seemingly awaits my attention or the frantic messages left on my Israeli phone – most of which are unimportant or now irrelevant – as much as it is the necessary...

FOCUS AND VISION 4/24/2017 01:08 PM

I once heard the Ponevezher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman say to a potential donor that he no longer had the ability to sleep normally for a number of hours but he had not lost his ability to continue to dream. I thought about this last week after returning from my visit t to my opthamologist/retinologist who confirmed the fact that my eyesight is no longer what it once was. But I comforted myself...