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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

JERUSALEM AND CHANUKA 12/11/2017 11:31 AM

The decision by Pres. Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel has been received in dismay and anger by portions of the Arab and Moslem world. This is pretty much what could have been expected since portions of that society have never given up on the idea of the destruction of the Jewish state. However, what is more troubling and disappointing, to me at least, is the...

BALANCE 11/20/2017 11:29 AM

As I thankfully and somewhat less then gracefully age, my sense of physical balance has weakened, gradually but inexorably. When one has imperfect physical balance one is markedly more prone to fall, and all falls carry unknown consequences with them. There are physical supports such as canes and walkers that are recommended for use and in many cases they are truly mandatory for safe living....

ONE-HUNDRED YEARS OF COMMUNIST RULE 11/12/2017 12:33 PM

1917 was a year of momentous events for the world and for the Jewish people. It was the year when the Balfour Declaration was issued by Great Britain and the year of America’s entry into World War I. It was also the year that the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and created the first Communist government and society in the world. Communism was messianic vision incarnate. It was the...

THE VANISHING AMERICAN TRADITIONAL JEW 10/30/2017 12:00 PM

The Jewish community in the United States has changed dramatically over the last sixty years. A trip down nostalgia lane will reveal that the backbone of the Jewish community in the United States then was the traditional Jew. That Jew did not attend synagogue services often but was somehow vaguely familiar with the prayer service itself. He or she was not strictly observant of the laws of...

DIFFERENCES 10/22/2017 01:53 PM

The human race is notable for its similarities and differences. All human beings are alike basically but each and every one of us is different. This is a fact of human life yet in spite, the nature of human beings is to focus and concentrate on the differences between us and to ignore the basic similarities. Recently, I was sitting in the waiting area of a busy airport watching the world...

DISTRACTIONS AND DIVERSIONS 9/5/2017 12:05 PM

We are all aware that our best laid plans and visions of our future are upset when life itself intervenes. We are always blindsided by unforeseen events. We are prone to be distracted and diverted by rather petty, small and even inconsequential events. The great issues that face and even bedevil the Jewish people and the Jewish state rarely receive the attention that they obviously deserve. A...

LOST CAUSES 8/28/2017 10:02 AM

The tendency of us old folks is to glorify the past generation of the days of our youth and to be skeptical of the motives and behavior of current generations. This tendency is so universal and pronounced that King Solomon in Kohelet warns us against so thinking for it is not out of wisdom that we believe it to be so. Yet I cannot help but in my mind compare the great causes that dominated the...

ELUL 8/20/2017 12:24 PM

In Eastern Europe as well as in other European, Balkan and Middle Eastern Jewish communities, the advent of the month of Elul was greeted with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Both feelings were engendered by the fact that Elul immediately precedes Tishrei, the month that combines judgment and joyful holiday celebrations. Because of the awesome aspect of judgment associated with...

PEOPLE 8/13/2017 11:02 AM

Standing on the corner of two major thoroughfares in midtown Manhattan recently I was struck by the number and variety of people walking past. There were hordes of them all purposefully heading towards some appointed place and event. They were a composite of all of humanity, representing every color of human skin, babel of languages, all social strata, faiths and ethnic origins. When I was a...

FAKE RELIGION 7/30/2017 01:02 PM

One of the many troublesome trends existing in our societies is the elevation of issues that are basically political and even monetary, to the level of religious faith and practice. The current struggle, mainly in the media and not so much on the ground itself, regarding the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount, is an example of making a security and political issue into a matter...