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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

A BABY IN THE HOUSE 10/14/2018 12:23 PM

Over the recent holiday of Succot, my great grandson Zev came to Israel and stayed with me in my home for almost two weeks. Since he is only six months old he naturally brought his parents with him, also very dear to me but certainly not as cute as Zev. It has been many years since I had such a young baby reside with me for that length of time. I had forgotten the wonders that accompany a baby...

HALF BIRTHDAYS 10/7/2018 11:52 AM

I have long noted that when one speaks to small children and asks them their age they will often answer in terms of half birthdays. They will say that they are four and a half or five and a half years old. This is because when we are very young we are anxious to become older and to possess the enticing fruit of privileges granted to children as they advance in years. This idea of half birthdays...

SUKKOT 9/16/2018 10:52 AM

Living here in Israel allows one to gain a deeper appreciation of the holidays of the Jewish calendar. In their deepest sense, they were all meant to be observed here in Israel. Perhaps that is what our rabbis intended when they cryptically said that the observance of the Commandments of the Torah that the Jewish people have fulfilled and continue to practice in the Diaspora is really a training...

THE ZEALOTS AMONG US 9/9/2018 11:07 AM

A great many decades ago when I was yet the student in my beloved yeshiva on the old west side of Chicago, I remember that one of my great teachers told us an anecdote that points to an eternal truth regarding people and their personal ideologies and beliefs. He said that both the cat and the owner of the house are opposed to rats and mice. The difference however is that the owner of the house...

LEARNING HOW TO LOSE 9/2/2018 12:20 PM

I recently read an article that featured an interview with a famous and gifted American baseball player. Most athletes when they are questioned or interviewed by the media respond almost like robots with clichés and nice-sounding phrases, which mean absolutely nothing. This athlete in the interview was asked what great benefit he derived from his career in baseball. Instead of the usual answer...

WHAT HAPPENED? 8/12/2018 08:46 AM

The Talmud records for us that the great scholar Choni Hamgael slumbered for a period of seventy years. When he awoke he looked around and saw an entirely new and different world than the one that he knew before his sleep. Society had changed drastically, and he realized that somehow, he was unable to adjust to the new world that surrounded it. As a result, he asked that the Lord take him from...

LOOKING FORWARD 8/5/2018 12:31 PM

Though we are always filled with warmth when looking back at our personal and national lives, Judaism and Jewish life are built upon the idea that we must look forward as well…..and on a constant basis. There is much evidence, both psychological and physical, that when people have an event to look forward to, somehow they have greater powers of physical survival and mental acumen. Simply...

HATRED 7/29/2018 12:55 PM

The rabbis of the Talmud have taught us that there are two opposite emotions that distort our thinking and cause human beings – even otherwise capable and talented human beings – to behave in an irrational manner. These two emotions on the surface appear to be polar opposites. They are love and hate. But psychologists have long taught us that not only are these emotions not necessarily...

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...

CHARITY 6/24/2018 09:47 AM

Giving charity, helping the needy and acting in a compassionate way towards those who need our help, is one of the pillars of Judaism and Jewish life. We are trained from our earliest days to share our wealth with those who, for various reasons, find themselves helplessly in need. The Talmud places great stress on giving charity and doing so in a regularly, compassionately and in an honorable...