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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

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...

THE BROADCASTER 8/29/2016 01:47 PM

Those of you who regularly read my writings, beloved as you are and may be, know that I like to look at the sport of baseball as a metaphor for life. The simplicity, beauty and quirky unexpectedness and uncertainties of the game accurately mirror the events in one’s personal and national life. Therefore, when I recently read an article about a revered baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully, I felt...

THE PICTURE 8/22/2016 01:03 PM

A number of months ago my wife and I paid a visit to friends of ours who just completed building their home near our neighborhood. I had known them from my years as being a rabbi in Miami Beach a half-century ago. During that time as a rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation, I taught Talmud daily to the young men of the eleventh grade of the local yeshiva high school. I did so on a voluntary basis...

I DON’T KNOW 8/1/2016 02:10 PM

My dear friend and esteemed member of our congregation, Professor Robert Aumann, told me a thoroughly wonderful story with a deep moral message. He had gone to visit the late, great Rabbi Gustman in the hospital where the rabbi was being treated for a sore on his foot. His physician was the famed Dr. Heiman, an exceptional person in his own right. The doctor came into the room and told Rabbi...

HARD CHOICES 7/26/2016 02:28 PM

Life consists of a constant series of hard choices that one is forced to make - and this is true of nations as well as of individuals. And, most of the problems of life are caused by the fact that these choices are almost never win – win situations but are rather choices where both are bad options. The Talmud ruefully advises us to choose the least bad alternative available when we are forced...

A MESSY WORLD 7/11/2016 03:50 PM

It is fairly obvious to any unbiased observer of our current world scene that things are pretty messy right now. The economic markets are reeling from the unexpected decision of the British electorate to leave the European Union. The sectarian wars in the Moslem world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia continue without mercy, without abatement and with no exit strategy in...

IT IS HOT OUTSIDE 7/3/2016 12:06 PM

From a purely nonscientific, anecdotal and personal viewpoint, I think that this past June has been unusually hot, weather-wise. Of course, I really don't remember how hot the past Junes have been but it is only a natural tendency to think that past times were always more pleasant than the current ones. I imagine that the official Israeli meteorological bureau will soon inform us as to the...

SUMMERTIME 6/12/2016 03:13 PM

No matter what official calendars may say, there is no question that the summer has arrived here in Israel. We have had quite a number of hot spells already and there will undoubtedly be many more over the coming months. Summer generally has become synonymous with leisure, vacations, trips and a more relaxed view of life. Naturally, there are always uncertain events, completely unpredictable...