Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

POST-TISHA B’AV THOUGHTS 7/27/2015 12:45 PM

I spent the better part of the afternoon of Tisha B’Av reading a book recently published concerning the history of Chicago's Orthodox rabbinate from the late 1800s to the middle of the twentieth century. The book has special meaning to me since I knew many of the rabbis described in the book during my early years in Chicago a half-century ago. Also the fact that my father and grandfather...

SHABBAT AND TISHA B’AV 7/20/2015 03:05 PM

It is an established fact that Shabbat trumps almost every other commandment, custom and practice in Jewish life and law. Allowing circumcision on Shabbat is the exception and not the rule. Whether confronting the fast days or feast days, Shabbat takes precedence. It rules, by rabbinic decree, over shofar and lulav as well as over the mournful commemorations of personal and national grief, loss...

HUMAN NATURE 7/13/2015 01:39 PM

In a rapidly changing world of technology, advances in medicine and ever shifting social mores, there remains one constant in life and that is the unchanging nature of human beings. No matter how clearly the failures of the past are recorded for us, we seem determined to repeat those errors. This is especially and poignantly true when considering that we have now entered the time of contemplation...

GOING SHOPPING 7/5/2015 02:14 PM

Those who know me will testify that I am not a person who enjoys shopping. There are people who simply love to go shopping. In fact there is an entire human activity, bordering on an industry, called ”going shopping.” And there are many practitioners of this activity and I am not merely speaking of window shopping, which is an entirely different genre by itself, but I am talking about real...

LOSING TEAMS 6/28/2015 01:42 PM

I have always felt that part of the attraction of sports, especially professional sports, leagues and teams, is that it somehow represents a metaphor for general life. One of the great ongoing mysteries of sports is the loyalty that losing teams continue to exercise over their fan base year after year and even decade after decade. The Chicago Cubs have not won a championship in major league...

WEIGHING VALUES 6/22/2015 02:40 PM

Almost all of us agree that values, especially those that represent the ideas of democracy and freedom and also our own national self-interest and personal preservation, are vital and necessary for ourselves and the public good. When viewed in isolation, it is easy to be an ardent supporter of any one individual value that fits this criterion of benefit and probity. The problem always arises...

FACT AND OPINION 6/15/2015 01:10 PM

One of my daughters told me a wonderful story last week – a story that I have already used in one of my public lectures here in Jerusalem. The story goes as follows: A third-grade child that attends a Jewish day school in the United States has two teachers – one for religious Hebrew studies and one for the general studies program. The general studies teacher was trying to explain to her...

FIFA AND RABBI RISKIN 6/8/2015 02:52 PM

There is much irony present in the news of the day and there also are connections between stories about apparently disparate subjects that can be easily overlooked. As unlikely as it seems, I discern a distinct connection between the debacle and justified humbling of FIFA – the self-proclaimed holy guardian of world football/soccer and of international sports generally – and the ill-timed,...

‘FIFE’ ON FIFA 6/1/2015 01:08 PM

Last week there were many dramas that took place regarding the international soccer association known as FIFA. Many of its top officials were arrested and more were indicted in the United States for brazenly corrupt practices. They were charged with accepting millions of dollars in bribes in assigning venues for the World Cup and other major soccer sporting events. The head of the...

I’VE GOT YOUR BACK 5/26/2015 12:18 PM

The president of the United States has recently reassured us and proclaimed that “America has Israel’s back”. Given the recent controversies between the prime minister of Israel and the president of the United States, this message was meant to soothe the relationship between the two countries and to allow for a more positive progression of policies that would be in their mutual interest. ...