Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Modern history

RESILIENCE 7/22/2018 01:01 PM

Challenges, difficulties and even tragedies in personal and national life are, to a very great extent, unavoidable and in many cases not even preventable. Because of this, the test in life becomes not only how did one deal with the problem but rather how did one recover after the problem proved so devastating. The key to recovery from sad occurrences is therefore resilience – the ability to...

THE ABSENCE OF CIVILITY 7/15/2018 02:13 PM

There was a time, well within recorded memory, when political differences and legislative proposals that people had could be discussed and decided with a modicum of civility and even courtesy. That seems not to be true anywhere in the world any longer. Here in Israel we are accustomed to bitter politics and a great deal of personal venom. Yet, somehow this pales in comparison with the current...

THE SADDEST DAY 7/3/2018 09:49 AM

There is no doubt that the saddest day on the Jewish calendar is the commemoration of the fast day of the ninth of Av. The day marks the days of destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem millennia ago. It also harbors within it the commemoration of many other sad and tragic events throughout Jewish history. From the original reluctance of the Jewish people to enter the land of...

AVOT 5/13/2018 09:57 AM

Both the Mishnah and Talmud are unique in their style of composition for in effect it allows the students thousands of years later to feel as though they have entered into that ancient study hall to hear the discussion of the scholars of Israel. Though most of the text of the Mishnah covers matters of law, ritual, commandments and observances, the tractate called Avot deals almost exclusively...

DAYS IN MAY 5/6/2018 10:49 AM

There are times in life that one is able to see the beginning and end of an idea or movement in its entirety. When I was a child I remember vividly that the first day of May was called May Day and was the day of celebration of the proletariat Left. Fiery speeches, and loud bands, tens of thousands of marchers waving red flags all dominated the media and street of the day. The mood of the day...

PESACH 3/18/2018 12:15 PM

One of the more amazing things about the holiday of Pesach is that even though it is over 3300 years old it is relevant and current to our world today just as it was when it was originally celebrated by the Jewish people in Egypt long ago. It naturally speaks to every generation in a different tone and nuance, but its basic message of human freedom and Godly service has never changed. Its...

COSTUMES 3/5/2018 08:51 AM

Since all of us are still in a somewhat post-–Purim frame of mind, I am taking the liberty of commenting on costumes, past and present that mark the holiday. I received many pictures of my blessed great-grandchildren, all of them dressed in costume. Some were airline pilots and flight attendants while others were mail carriers and even letters. There were a number of Queen Esthers, police...

MY ORCHID PLANT 2/19/2018 11:06 AM

Among my many failings is the fact that I do not have a green thumb. Plants and I do not agree and, in fact, many times I feel that the plants that I have in my home are just downright hostile to me. The care of these plants and the reason that they have survived so long has always been due to the distaff side of my home. I very much enjoy flowers and plants and I see in them some of the...

NOT ME 2/5/2018 10:56 AM

The current dispute between Poland and Israel, really between Poland and the Jewish people, highlights one of the great weaknesses of the human character. Even after committing and participating in the worst of atrocities against innocent fellow human beings, the perpetrators rarely have the courage and moral fortitude to acknowledge their actions and attempt to atone for their guilt. The...

THE INSCRUTABLE FUTURE 1/14/2018 11:33 AM

Human beings are limited drastically by our inability to forecast and see the future accurately while we are engaged in the present. There is no question that world history would read far differently if only the assumptions of the present could be judged by the realities of the future. In the autumn of 1914 the German army stood at the gates of Paris and the Kaiser believed that his victory was...