Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

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...

PESACH 3/30/2015 01:48 PM

Someone remarked to me recently that he did not see or feel how anything new could be discussed at his Seder table – everything that could have been said and analyzed had been said over all of the past decades of his commemorating Pesach. I told him that I thought he had too narrow a view concerning the commemoration of Pesach. The broad human and particularly Jewish issues of bondage,...

SHABAT HAGADOL 3/23/2015 11:52 AM

The Shabbat that immediately precedes the holiday of Passover carries with it the title of being Shabbat Hagadol – the great and exalted Shabbat. There are many explanations advanced as to why this Shabbat should merit that special title. The one most often advanced is that the tenth day of Nissan – the day when the actual redemption from Egypt began by the Jews taking the paschal lamb into...

DISCONNECTION 3/16/2015 01:21 PM

One of the problems that faces religious leadership in the Jewish world, especially the leadership of the great scholars and heads of the leading educational institutions here in Israel, is that there is a chasm of disconnect between them and the masses that they wish to lead and influence. I remember that once when I was a rabbi in Miami Beach many decades ago, a noted Israeli Talmudic...

ניתוק 3/15/2015 01:54 PM

אחת הבעיות שניצבות בפני ההנהגה הדתית של העולם היהודי, במיוחד ההנהגה של הרבנים הגדולים וראשי מוסדות החינוך הדתיים המובילים בישראל, היא העובדה שיש תהום פעורה של נתק בינם לבין ההמונים שהם מבקשים להנהיג ועליהם הם מבקשים...

MY BOOKS 1/19/2015 12:56 PM

I have always been a lover of books. Even when I was a young student in the yeshiva many decades ago I would read books on all sorts of different subjects. Back then, I then used the meager financial resources at my disposal to purchase books. Prices were different then and for three dollars I was able to obtain classic books by great Talmudic scholars. When I was a rabbi in Miami Beach, I...

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...