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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

BALANCE 11/20/2017 02:29 PM

As I thankfully and somewhat less then gracefully age, my sense of physical balance has weakened, gradually but inexorably. When one has imperfect physical balance one is markedly more prone to fall, and all falls carry unknown consequences with them. There are physical supports such as canes and walkers that are recommended for use and in many cases they are truly mandatory for safe living....

ONE-HUNDRED YEARS OF COMMUNIST RULE 11/12/2017 03:33 PM

1917 was a year of momentous events for the world and for the Jewish people. It was the year when the Balfour Declaration was issued by Great Britain and the year of America’s entry into World War I. It was also the year that the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and created the first Communist government and society in the world. Communism was messianic vision incarnate. It was the...

A CENTURY OF BALFOUR 11/6/2017 12:56 PM

In November 1917, amidst the then stalemate and endless carnage of the Great War –World War I – the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild in London offering official governmental support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. This letter has become enshrined in Jewish history as the Balfour Declaration. This was he first...

THE VANISHING AMERICAN TRADITIONAL JEW 10/30/2017 03:00 PM

The Jewish community in the United States has changed dramatically over the last sixty years. A trip down nostalgia lane will reveal that the backbone of the Jewish community in the United States then was the traditional Jew. That Jew did not attend synagogue services often but was somehow vaguely familiar with the prayer service itself. He or she was not strictly observant of the laws of...

DIFFERENCES 10/22/2017 04:53 PM

The human race is notable for its similarities and differences. All human beings are alike basically but each and every one of us is different. This is a fact of human life yet in spite, the nature of human beings is to focus and concentrate on the differences between us and to ignore the basic similarities. Recently, I was sitting in the waiting area of a busy airport watching the world...

AFTER THE HOLIDAYS 10/16/2017 01:14 PM

The concluding week of Tishrei always carries with it a note of anti-climax, if not even sadness. The great holidays of the year have departed with their soaring beauty and meaningful moments of personal reflection. Flooded with memories of the past we were transported to a different existence, physically and emotionally. Time was slower, family dearer and our spiritual bond with our...

SUCCOT 10/2/2017 12:50 PM

All of us sense a feeling of spiritual deflation immediately after the exalted atmosphere of Yom Kippur. To have to plunge immediately and directly into the icy waters of everyday life is much too challenging a task. We have just been given an entire day to nurture our souls and to exist as angels without the necessity of fulfilling the requirements of our bodies. So the Lord, so to speak,...

YOM KIPPUR 9/25/2017 12:25 PM

The sublime holiness of the day of Yom Kippur is ushered in by the declaration of the annulmemment of vows in the Kol Nidrei service. Obviously we do not want to appear before the Heavenly court with outstanding unfulfilled commitments. But attempting to discharge one’s committed, seriously undertaken commitments by cancelling those obligations unilaterally seems, at first glance, to be a...

ROSH HASHANAH 9/18/2017 01:56 PM

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a reflective period in the Jewish calendar year. At one and the same time we look back at the accomplishments and failures of the past year and we also look forward to our lives and hoped for achievements in the coming good year now dawning upon us. The prayers of Rosh Hashanah represent this duality of outlook. They also represent the constants in our...

SELICHOT 9/11/2017 01:16 PM

The custom of reciting selichot – penitential prayers – preceding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is an ancient one dating back to the period of the Geonim in Babylonia if not even to Talmudic times. There are different customs as to when to begin reciting these prayers. Most Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish congregations begin the recitation of selichot at the beginning of the month of Elul...