Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Hidden Heroes
4 Lectures

Item #: S304

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Come and learn about four luminaries who sometimes evade our notice. King David's brilliant general; a master of logistics who rebuilt the Second Temple; another master of the spirit who rebuilt the Jewish soul once the Temple was in place; and a free-spirited mystic whose complex poetry graces our Sabbath tables with his zemiros.

Yoav Ben Tzruya - Dovid Ha Melech's "chief of staff" is a flawed hero of Tanach, at times loyal to a fault, and at others, an unabashed critic. Rabbi Wein scrutinizes the complex relationship between these two great men, showing how Yoav's actions on and off the battlefield represent his triumphs and lapses in ethical behavior.

Nechemia ben Chachliya - Dealing with an unwilling people who had backslid in their adherence to Torah, Nechemia had the thankless task of re-establishing such basic observances as Shabbos and shemittah. For this he earned enemies on all sides, but an examination of his life places him as one of the greatest leaders in all of Jewish history.

Shimon Ha Tzaddik - The legendary first meeting of Shimon Ha Tzaddik and Alexander the Great, in which the conqueror bowed down to the holy man, is much more than an exciting Talmudic tale. It encapsulates the relationship Shimon Ha Tzaddik was able to forge with Alexander, who not only spared the Jews from warfare, but allowed them to continue to live in accordance with Torah values. With this and subsequent Talmudic accounts of this great figure, Rabbi Wein demonstrates the dedication to the Jewish people that earned him the highest of Jewish accolades, "Ha Tzaddik."

Rabbi Yisrael ibn Nadjara - Best known for his poem "Koh Ribon Olam," this prolific 16th century poet lived the sort of bohemian life that we of the 21st century have come to associate with poets. Rabbi Wein captures both sides of this controversial figure: the habits that earned him the scorn of his contemporaries and his breadth as a Talmudic scholar. Overall, the life of Yisrael ibn Nadjara proves that a person can be vilified in his lifetime, but be vindicated by history.

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