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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

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...

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...