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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

THE CONVERSION BILL 11/17/2014 03:36 PM

One of the current hot button topics here in Israel is pending legislation to make changes in the current process of converting non-Jews to Judaism. The bill itself underwent many compromises and changes until it was approved by the coalition cabinet for presentation to the Knesset for a deciding vote. The bill, in its original form, was backed by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, abetted by...

VAYERA 11/3/2014 01:49 PM

For the Jewish people, one of the hallmarks of our great founding parents was their ability to maintain communication with their Creator. God, so to speak, was a constant living presence in their lives, thoughts and actions. And they were able to hear God’s voice, though God has no voice, and to visualize God even though God has no physical appearance. God spoke to them through the inner voice...

SUKKOTH 10/5/2014 01:57 PM

After the tension filled solemnity of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiday of Sukkoth arrives with its many inspiring rituals and its message of joy and rejoicing in the service of God. It is regarding Sukkoth that the Torah instructs us “to be joyful on your holiday.” Now, joy, like almost all other emotions is not something that can be turned on and off like a faucet. A person...

YOM KIPPUR 9/29/2014 01:08 PM

The holiest day of the year is upon us. The time of atonement and forgiveness, of introspection and self-analysis has again arrived. The unique quality of the day of Yom Kippur is that it is a day of cleansing. Just as our refraining from food and drink on that day helps cleanse us physically, so too does our participation in prayer, serious thought, recognition of personal faults and a new...

A RETURN TO THE SABBATH 9/15/2014 12:36 PM

During this period of reflective thought, there is one issue that, in my opinion, stands out. And that is the issue of Sabbath observance within the Jewish world. The rabbis of the Talmud placed the Sabbath at the forefront of all the commandments, and essentially as the lodestone of Jewish identity. Sabbath observance brought with it personal trust and cooperation in all social and religious...

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...

GREAT-GRANDFATHERHOOD 6/2/2014 01:14 PM

After a very long and busy tour of the United States on behalf of Destiny Foundation I was finally scheduled to return to Israel and my beloved congregation. But my granddaughter in New York gave birth to a baby boy a few days before my scheduled departure to Israel. Faced with a difficult decision as to whether to stay for the brit or not, I thought to myself: “There are many rabbis around...

THE EYES HAVE IT 5/5/2014 12:56 PM

Among the many positive attributes that my great-grandchildren possess is that many of them have unusually beautiful eyes. This is especially true of the female branch of our family. And that is truly fortunate, for the Talmud teaches us that a woman who possesses beautiful eyes needs no further inspection – one can be assured that she is of exceptional quality. The Torah points out that...

SEEING ISRAEL 4/23/2014 04:34 PM

Since I have spent the past two weeks outside of Israel I have come to the conclusion that the only way to truly see and appreciate Israel is by stepping away from it a little bit, so to speak – to see it from afar. Those of us who are blessed to live in Israel, many times on a regular daily basis gain a very myopic view of the country, its struggles and accomplishments. The rabbis in their...

LEAP YEAR 2/2/2014 10:05 PM

This year on the Jewish calendar, 5774, is a leap year. In terms of the Jewish calendar this means that it is a thirteen-month year instead of the usual twelve-month year. This anomaly is accomplished by repeating the month of Adar twice. In the secular calendar every fourth year is also called a leap year. That leap year is identified by having the month of February be twenty-nine days long...