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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

BETTER TIMES 3/6/2016 01:07 AM

One of the more memorable sentences in modern English literature is: “It was the best of all times; it was the worst of all times.” This view of life and current society is a variant on the theme of the half empty, half-full glass conundrum. In effect, there are always opposing views as to the state of humanity, society and for us, the Jewish people the world over, in any given generation. In...

TOO MUCH, TOO FAST 2/28/2016 02:13 PM

Profligate behavior has always been a byproduct of great personal wealth, especially great wealth acquired relatively quickly. One of the great psychological rules of a great supply of money is that it searches for an outlet. Money burns a hole in one’s pocket. And thus many times, spending becomes foolish, ostentatious, unnecessary and sometimes even self-destructive. And in our instant...

WINTER BLUES 2/1/2016 12:15 PM

Having lived in Israel for the past nineteen years, memories of winter in Monsey, New York have faded from my memory. That is not all that has faded from my memory but that is a different matter for a different discussion. Finding myself in Monsey at this time of the year, I have been experiencing weather that has been cold and very snowy. It is mid-winter here in the northeastern part of the...

DISAPPOINTMENTS 11/9/2015 01:38 PM

Disappoints are almost always based on the failure of people, technological gadgets or public policies to live up to expectations. Therefore, the higher the expectations are, the greater the disappointments. Because we invest so much confidence and hope in our political leaders, we are invariably doomed to disappointment and frustration when they turn out to be merely fallible human beings. ...

WHO KNOWS TWELVE? 11/2/2015 01:14 PM

In the interests if transparency and honesty, let me state at the outset here that this brilliant essay is completely self-serving and personally motivated. But nevertheless it does, in my opinion, contain ideas and insights that may prove worthwhile to my long-suffering loyal readers. The name of my newly published book is “Who Knows Twelve – Insights and Values From the Book of Trei-Asar...

FIRST RAINS 10/12/2015 03:18 PM

Right on schedule, immediately after the holiday of Succot and the annual prayer for rain, the Land of Israel experienced its first inclement weather of the season. One of the many wonders of the natural beauty and climate of Israel is the fact that for seven months of the year there is practically no rain that falls in our country. Everyone knows that an outdoor summer wedding can be planned...

GIFTS 9/20/2015 12:54 PM

Judaism views life itself as the ultimate gift granted to us by Heaven. As such, it takes the highest prominence and priority. However, most humans, when not in situations of danger and emergency, hardly view their lives in such a perspective. Instead of seeing it as a gift, most humans simply see it as a given state of existence to which they are somehow entitled. Because of this view, life...

GRATITUDE 8/24/2015 12:24 PM

The month of Elul brings forth many different emotions, thoughts and insights. It is, after all, meant to be a month of introspection and serious self-analysis. And, one of the values that this month is meant to evoke in our minds and thoughts is that of gratitude. The rabbis of the Talmud saw gratitude as being one of the most basic values of Judaism. Since nothing in life is perfect and we...

IDEOLOGY AND REALITY 4/19/2015 01:01 PM

The Torah describes itself as a Torat chayim - a Torah of life and living. There are many possible interpretations of this phrase. It can refer to the fact that the Torah is eternal, vibrant and ever renewing, the source and fountain of life – that it is a living Torah. However to my mind, this phrase implies that it is also, if not even primarily so, the Torah of practicality and reality. ...

SFIRA 4/9/2015 01:12 PM

Sfira marks the longest-running commandment of the Torah. It occupies forty nine days on the yearly Jewish calendar. It has been encrusted with customs in commemoration of events in Jewish history, some happy and some not so happy. Although most of Sfira is low-key if not even somber, there are minor festival days that are also included during this period of time. Sfira reflects much of what our...