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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

COMMON SENSE 8/9/2020 12:32 AM

One of the problems of the concept of common sense is that it is really an oxymoron. Sense is anything but common in human affairs and amongst human beings. King Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, devotes much of its contents explaining that fools in this world far outnumber those that are wise and sensible. There are many things in life that should be self-evident to anyone that bothers to...

JEWISH PRIVILEGE 8/2/2020 10:12 AM

Anti-Semitism is an old and pernicious disease, for which much of mankind has never found an adequate antidote or cure. It reappears in every generation, and almost in every clime and country. However, like many other deadly viruses, it constantly mutates, assuming different ideologies, slogans, and activities in each different instance. But its goal is always the same – to demonize the Jewish...

ROYALTY 7/12/2020 12:51 PM

The Talmud recommends that we should make every attempt to view royalty along with its pomp and circumstances whenever we can. The Talmud explains that by seeing and visualizing the honor and deference paid to human beings of royalty, we can then gain a glimpse of understanding regarding the honor and deference that we should pay to the royalty of heaven itself. I remember that when Queen...

ALL ABOUT THE EXPERTS 6/21/2020 02:36 PM

Slowly over my lifetime, I have come to be a skeptic about what experts tell me. I have lived long enough to know that what the experts told me 20 or 30 years ago about what was going to happen regarding the economy, political matters, international conflict, regarding almost everything, have been proven to be, in the main, false and misleading. Of course, no one ever calls the experts to task....

Boredom 4/19/2020 03:03 PM

One of the effects of being cooped up in one's home for weeks on end, which is the situation for many if not most of us over the past month, is the fact that sooner or later it becomes very boring. Boring is a curse for rabbis, teachers, lecturers, and unfortunately for students as well. There is no comment more devastating to someone who has made a presentation, to say to that person, "I was...

Jews and Judaism 4/13/2020 06:34 PM

I have often quipped that one should never confuse Jews with Judaism. Jews are human beings, subject to all human failings, foibles, and various patterns of behavior and thinking that do not always coincide with the values and the true ideas of Judaism. Nevertheless, over the centuries, in the main, Jews and Judaism were attuned and aspired to the same beneficial conditions for society and for...

Legends and Folklore 2/10/2020 12:24 PM

I have several calendars in my home. One is naturally a Jewish calendar for the year 5780, which details all the holidays and fast days of the Jewish year. I also have an Israeli calendar, which, in addition to listing all the Jewish holidays, also has Israel Independence Day, Jerusalem Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day, amongst others. But for good old times sake, I also have an American...

THE CONVENIENT SCAPEGOAT 2/2/2020 12:31 PM

Recently I was in a taxi as I had to go to a town approximately 45 minutes from Jerusalem. I am not by nature a very gregarious person or a constant conversationalist. I usually am a silent passenger when in a taxi, especially since the driver is a stranger to me, though I am very appreciative of his efforts and skills. As it happened, this taxi driver was determined to discuss with me all his...

NATIONAL DENIAL 1/26/2020 11:48 AM

One of the unique and exceptional facets of Jewish history and even of the biblical narrative regarding the story of the Jewish people is the fact that there is no attempt to whitewash or ignore where there are failings, serious mistakes, wrong policies or incorrect social behavior. The Torah, which is the template for all narratives in Jewish life, has, as its motto the seal of truth – truth...

A MAN OF PRINCIPLE 12/29/2019 06:00 AM

During my recent stay in the United States last month, I was invited to speak in a few institutions and at certain events taking place in the New York area. I accepted a number of these invitations and I spoke at a leading institution of learning that is usually identified as being the flagship of the modern Orthodox section of American Jewry. I also spoke at a banquet held in honor of one of...