Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

OPTIMISM 1/16/2017 04:12 PM

It seems that the intrinsic nature of human beings is to be optimistic about the future and about life generally. This is a very strange phenomenon since it flies in the face of all of human experience and seeming reality. We are all aware that the rule, that whatever can go wrong will eventually go wrong, has had very few exceptions in human history. Therefore, foreign policy or military...

SCANDALS 1/9/2017 02:03 PM

The history of power and influence is always littered with personal scandals. This is evident in all of the words of the great prophets of Israel regarding the rulers and officers of their times. Unfortunately, over the long history of human civilization and of Jewish history as well, religious leaders who profess to represent superior morals and decency many times are tarnished as well by...

THE ENDING REVEALS ALL 1/1/2017 02:38 PM

One of the verses of our prayers on the eve of the Sabbath states that the end of the action reveals the original thought in the matter. Naturally the prayer refers to God and the process of creation as it is revealed throughout the week and through the ages. The Jewish people have been struck by the adverse, and nevertheless collectively applied it to many situations in life. In many...

CHANUKAH 12/25/2016 01:43 PM

There probably is no other holiday on the Jewish calendar that has had as much material written about it than the Chanukah festival. There are many causes and reasons for this seeming anomaly of a relatively minor rabbinic holiday receiving so much attention. The fact that by the nature of the calendar it falls in the month of December, and especially this year when it actually coincides with the...

CONSISTENCY 12/18/2016 02:46 PM

Consistency, like many other character traits in life that are primarily positive, can turn into a negative trait if carried to an extreme. We are all aware that consistency is essential to good parenting, meaningful education, business and commercial success, as well as to political and governmental stability. Consistency is not necessarily doing things by rote. It is rather the...

COLLEGE CAMPUSES 12/11/2016 04:38 PM

Recently there have appeared in a number of newspapers throughout the United States articles detailing the appalling anti-Semitism that exists currently on many American college campuses. American Jewish youth attend colleges and universities in greater proportion to their population than any other segment of the American public. It can be maintained that theoretically and proportionately...

DIFFICULT DECISIONS 12/5/2016 03:32 PM

Part of the tradition of rabbinic jurisprudence is that courts of law should attempt at almost all costs to arrive at a compromise/arbitration decision rather than attempt to enforce the letter of the law. This is undoubtedly because of the fact that true justice is often beyond the abilities and capabilities of ordinary humans. In all major decisions in life there are always, so to speak,...

SUPPLY AND DEMAND 11/28/2016 12:54 PM

As we all have been taught in our study of elementary economics, prices and values are established by the law of supply and demand. In theory, the greater the supply, the lower the price. We are witness to this fact of commerce in the current, still relatively inexpensive price of oil, due to the glut of all oil available on the world market. This rule of commerce – supply and demand –...

LOOKING AT GENERATIONS 11/20/2016 02:10 PM

On my recent visit to America I availed myself of the opportunity to visit with many of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. The great grandchildren are still mainly too young to recognize me and appreciate my connection to them. As one of them so succinctly put it when he was informed that I was his zaydie: “But I already have two zaidies!” So the experience and its meaning currently is...

UNPOPULAR LEADERS 11/13/2016 01:05 PM

There have been many instances in human history when people were not universally popular with their subjects and citizens. No ruler has ever had unanimous popularity and approval – witness Moshe and Korach, for example – but like everything else in life, popularity is never absolute but only relative. In elections a candidate that achieves a fifty-five percent majority is deemed to have...