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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Jewish Thought

THE PAST AND THE FUTURE 12/16/2018 11:32 AM

Judaism preaches a forward-looking outlook on life and a positive take on the human situation. It also encourages, in fact commands, that even though one is to concentrate on the future, one is never to forget the past. For what happened in the past to a great degree shapes our future and influences it greatly. Much of our current society is solely enmeshed in the present and has little...

EMAILS NOT READ 12/9/2018 09:12 AM

Like most of us today I receive a great deal of email from people and companies whom I do not know and have no connection to. Most of the emails that I receive fall into the category of spam and are rapidly deleted. However, I am a creature of habit and I look at my email inbox regularly, sometimes more than once a day. I am always hopeful that there will be an email of importance, intelligence...

LESS DIFFERENCES, MORE UNITY, A STRONG ORTHODOXY 11/25/2018 06:37 AM

During my recent trip to the United States I had the honor of addressing the student bodies of different Orthodox educational institutions. These institutions were of diverse streams of Orthodoxy. Some refer to themselves as modern Orthodox, while others claim to be more authentic, so to speak, and less open to the culture and ideals of the modern world. At the various venues, some of the...

FAME 11/4/2018 06:00 AM

As the saying goes, fame is fleeting. However, most humans enjoy it when it exists. The problem with fame is that it is very temporary, fickle and has a very short shelf life. However, while it lasts it is intoxicating and delectable. The famous anecdote about the politician who learns that an investigative article regarding his nefarious behavior was about to be published in the local newspaper,...

IGNORING REALITIES 10/28/2018 12:34 PM

The Jewish people are by their very nature an optimistic and hopeful people. We believe that things will get better and that we, in the world at large, really can and will have a rosier future no matter how dismal and discouraging current affairs may be. I have always regarded myself as an optimist and since, in my lifetime, I have seen many great miracles and accomplishments, I have always felt...

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...