Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE 8/17/2014 01:48 PM

The Jewish nation is described in the Torah as being a stiff- necked people. In the context of that particular Torah discussion this description of the people of Israel is not necessarily a complimentary one. It refers to the stubbornness of the generation of the desert of Sinai and their rebellious nature in constantly refusing to abide by God’s will and to accept Moshe’s authority and...

CONFUSING ROLES 8/10/2014 09:00 AM

All people are duty bound to try and help other people in need of such help. Rabbis are especially called upon to be available to help others in their times of distress and difficulties. Nevertheless, it is essential for one to be able to recognize one's limitations and true role. Many a rabbi has gotten himself into deep trouble by acting as a psychologist, therapist, financial advisor,...

THIS ONE FEELS DIFFERENT 8/3/2014 01:52 PM

I have been present in Israel for a number of wars that this small, grave country has been forced to endure. Even before I made Aliyah, I was present here during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein rained SCUDs on a then defenseless population here in Israel. Since then I have lived here as an Israeli resident and citizen during the first and second intifada, the second Lebanon war, the...

FECKLESSNESS AND UNWISDOM 7/28/2014 01:38 PM

In Winston Churchill's epic six-volume memoir of the Second World War, in the first volume entitled “The Gathering Storm,” he wrote of the British foreign policy of the 1930s as follows: “[The later disaster was caused by] the English-speaking peoples, [who] through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature, allowed the wicked to rearm." A good nature is a necessity for personal...

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY 7/21/2014 12:54 PM

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH 7/14/2014 01:19 PM

In my many decades as a public speaker I have encountered many reactions to my words. Though most people love me and are enthralled by what I have to say, many times people have somehow vehemently disagreed and have informed me of their negative opinions. Sometimes people have even walked out while I was still speaking to express their displeasure. Once or twice I remember being heckled by...

WHO WILL GO FOR US? 7/7/2014 12:26 PM

In the great vision that the prophet Isaiah witnessed in Heaven at the onset of his immortal prophetic career, he heard a voice that asked: “Who shall I send and who will go for us?" That verse in Isaiah has always been a marker for me as to how to judge Jewish leaders and other people of note. There are moments in life and in history when that question reverberates throughout the Jewish...

MODERNITY AND TRADITION 6/30/2014 12:48 PM

The major challenge to all religions and certainly to Judaism over the past two centuries has been the religious reaction to the problems raised by modernity. Modernity encompasses but is not limited to technological progress, a global economy, ideas of personal and national freedom and a search for a more equitable distribution of wealth and well being amongst all human beings. This...

CHRISTIANITY AND ISRAEL 6/23/2014 12:38 PM

It is well known, though hardly discussed in public, that the creation and existence of the State of Israel has created serious theological problems for sections of the Jewish community. But the creation and existence of the State of Israel has created even greater theological and emotional problems for much of the Christian world and many different branches of the overall Christian religion. ...

A GENERATION DEPARTS 6/16/2014 12:43 PM

Time inexorably does its work. King Solomon ruefully pointed out that “Generations come and generations leave and yet the earth itself eternally remains.” The generation that experienced World War II and the Holocaust Jews who lived through it is rapidly departing from our midst. At the seventieth D-Day commemorative ceremonies two weeks ago very few actual participants in that great venture...