Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

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...

RABBINIC RESPONSIBILITY 7/18/2016 02:08 PM

Since the myth of rabbinic infallibility has become entrenched, exaggerated and untrue as it may be, it has unwittingly caused many other dire consequences. Since rabbis are somehow not able to discern the future and to be aware of the true motives and behavior patterns of those congregants and strangers who avail themselves of rabbinic services, rabbis are held accountable for the behavior of...

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...

CAUSE AND EFFECT 6/26/2016 12:38 AM

An article entitled: “What’s wrong with Conservative Judaism?” appeared in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Report magazine. This article was authored by Myron M. Fenster, the Rabbi Emeritus of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn, New York, a leading Conservative congregation. As the title of the article indicates, the movement is in trouble due to a dramatic decrease in its number of...

RABBI CHAIM ZELIG FASMAN 6/19/2016 02:31 PM

My beloved friend and study partner from my yeshiva days in Chicago, Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman, passed away recently. I was really brought up very short and greatly distressed at learning of his passing. Even though seventy years and the space of great continents separated us, one never forgets or is really distant from one’s learning partner – we studied together on a daily basis for nine...

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...

SHAVUOT 6/5/2016 12:27 PM

Although there is no really accurate way to measure the relative importance of the holidays of the Jewish calendar year, I think that we can all agree that the holiday of Shavuot appears to be the least dramatic of them all. The Torah describes it as an agricultural feast day commemorating the grain harvest and the greening of the first fruits of the season as an offering in the Temple in...

MACHERS 5/29/2016 01:00 PM

Because of the constantly creeping overreach of government into all areas of our lives, a new industry was created here in Israel – and certainly not only in Israel but in every other country and political system in the world. Here in Israel, people who are engaged full time in this industry are called “machers.” Loosely translated from the original Yiddish, the word connotes people who are...

NORMALCY 5/22/2016 03:12 PM

One of the most difficult standards to judge or even define is what is considered normal behavior. We all aspire to a sense of normalcy and in fact we wish to live him a society that is considered normal. The problem is how do we judge normalcy? What was abnormal or even abhorrent behavior just a few decades ago is today within the realm of acceptability. So, there is no doubt that any...