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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

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...

RABBIS AND SAVANTS 1/27/2014 11:06 AM

There was a long and critical article that appeared this past week in one of the Hebrew newspapers here in Israel concerning the role of rabbis in society. There is no question that the role of most rabbis in the United States is far different than what is currently the case in Israeli society. In the United States the rabbi is a far more personal figure. He is a teacher, speaker and...

REQUIEM FOR A MOVEMENT 1/21/2014 10:25 AM

In an article that appeared two months ago in the Jewish Review of Books, Daniel Gordis wrote about the sorry state of the Conservative movement in the current American Jewish scene. The Pew Report documented, with a great body of anecdotal evidence, the demise of this once most numerous and powerful movement. Gordis himself is the scion of a distinguished rabbinical family that exercised...

רוחניות 11/11/2013 12:54 PM

הארגון שמתיימר לייצג את יהדות ארה"ב נפגש השבוע באסיפה הכללית השנתית שלו. פעם בחמש שנים האסיפה הזאת מתקיימת בירושלים, ובארבע השנים האחרות בערים שונות באמריקה. לאור העובדה שחלק ניכר מהחברה היהודית באמריקה נמצא במצב של...

YOM KIPPUR 9/9/2013 12:43 PM

Yom Kippur is not only the day of holiness and forgiveness of sin – it is also the great day of hope and optimism. To a great extent each of us is born anew on that day. Each one of us has an opportunity to reexamine ourselves. Though we spend much of our prayer time admitting our sins, failures and shortcomings, we do so confident that these errors will be erased in God’s compassion for His...