Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

MIRACLE FOOD 2/16/2020 06:00 AM

One of the great fantasies of human beings is the search for a miracle food that will heal our ills, prolong our lives and prevent us from gaining weight, no matter how much of it we consume. In addition, we want this food to be appetizing in appearance and taste. Presently there is no food known to mankind that fits this description, and there hasn’t been since our ancestors were expelled from...

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...

The Good Old Days 1/19/2020 07:52 AM

I have noticed that as I become older and older, the good old days become ‘gooder and gooder.’ Now naturally we are all victims of selective memory and warm nostalgia, nevertheless as I have just returned from a family wedding in the United States, I am definitely under the impression that the good old days of American society were surely better than the current state of political and...

Walking the Dog 1/12/2020 02:51 PM

Every morning, there are people in my congregation who are kind enough to drive me to the synagogue for the morning services. I meet them at the corner, and since I do not like that people should have to wait for me, I usually am there a few minutes early. This allows me to survey the scene and gather my thoughts before the moments of prayer and contemplation. I have noticed over the past few...

OrCam 1/5/2020 10:14 AM

For many decades of my adult life, I have been a reading addict. In my hay-day I would read two or three books a month on various topics, but mostly on history, biography, and Jewish subjects. My interests varied but I was always an avid reader of all books on the American Civil War, as well as on historical figures both in the Jewish or non-Jewish world. However, over the past decade my eyesight...

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...

CHANUKAH 12/22/2019 10:48 AM

Chanukah is a time of the commemoration of miracles that happened to our ancestors in previous times, but at this time of the year. Miracles are always present in our lives and in world events. The ultimate definition of a miracle, in human terms, is that something unexpected and unforeseen happened, and it proved beneficial to the individual or society to which it occurred. This definition...

THE DAF YOMI PROJECT AND SIYUM 12/15/2019 09:54 AM

During the upcoming month, there will be worldwide commemorations and programs marking the conclusion of the almost seven-and-a-half-year cycle of studying one page each day of the Babylonian Talmud. The originator of this program was the famed Rabbi Meir Shapiro, a leader of Polish Orthodox Jewry in the interwar years of the twentieth century. Rabbi Shapiro was a member of the Polish Parliament...