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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Ethics

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...

A Recovering News Junkie 12/1/2019 09:53 AM

Until recently I have been a news junkie my whole life. As a child growing up during World War II, and my parents being European-born with families in Europe and the land of Israel. during that dark period our home was constantly tuned to the radio for the latest news bulletins. One of my earliest memories is hearing the shrieks and rants of Hitler over the radio. As I grew up, I became addicted...

GRIDLOCK 11/10/2019 12:15 PM

One of the most dreaded situations motorists are forced to face is that of complete gridlock. This usually occurs when there is very heavy traffic, with the inherent frustration involved in trying to move forward, when motorists find themselves in the middle of the road with traffic blocked on their left and right. This inevitably leads to loud honking from all sides and only further frustrates...

OPTIMISM 11/3/2019 02:07 PM

One of the hallmark traits of Judaism is a spirit of optimism. Since oftentimes optimism flies in the face of reality and the factual situations we face, like all human traits, it is to be applied judiciously, in moderation and with a great deal of good common sense. Nevertheless, optimism is a permanent state of mind. Even in dark moments when our optimistic mood and hopes are dashed, optimism...

IT LOOKS GOOD 10/20/2019 11:51 AM

We are all aware that looks can be quite deceiving. When the Torah describes for us the concept of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, it refers to it as being most desirous and pleasant in the eyes of our mother Eve. As we all know, this became the source of human mortality and the bitter sin that led to expulsion from Paradise. So, the lesson should be obvious that not everything that looks...

BEING GOOD 9/29/2019 12:04 PM

We are currently in a period of repentance and thoughtful analysis of our lives and deeds. We tend to think this applies to our behavior and actions, to what we have or haven’t done, and to pledge ourselves to better conduct. This is partially true, but I feel that there is a very important point that is especially crucial in current society and especially regarding the family today. We...

THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL 9/15/2019 12:54 PM

Historians over the past few centuries have been heavily influenced by a Marxist view of the world and of human events. In this understanding of the past, present and future, great external forces such as the competition of the classes, stages of economic development and powerful historical and sociological forces somehow determine human behavior and explain human history as well as current...