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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

Isolation 6/28/2020 01:23 PM

When I returned to my home in Jerusalem from a three-month long sojourn with my children in the United States, I observed a self-imposed quarantine of fourteen days in my home. I discovered that isolation from personal contact with other human beings is truly a form of mental and physical distress. I fully understand now why house arrest, let alone solitary confinement, are viewed by criminal...

ALL ABOUT THE EXPERTS 6/21/2020 02:36 PM

Slowly over my lifetime, I have come to be a skeptic about what experts tell me. I have lived long enough to know that what the experts told me 20 or 30 years ago about what was going to happen regarding the economy, political matters, international conflict, regarding almost everything, have been proven to be, in the main, false and misleading. Of course, no one ever calls the experts to task....

My Orchid Plant Revisited 6/15/2020 12:56 PM

Some time ago I wrote a short essay about my orchid plant and its wondrous ability to revive itself and flower after months of being dormant. Recently when I was in house quarantine upon returning to Jerusalem, I again noticed that the orchid plant in my kitchen rejuvenated – I believe for the third time- and was flowering beautifully. When one is confined for fourteen days, one notices such...

The Eternal Question 6/9/2020 11:10 AM

As the corona pandemic hopefully wanes, and as we attempt to return to some sort of normalcy and emerge from our isolation, I have reflected on the fact that there is an enormous theological question raised by the events of the past few months. This theological question has always existed and has always been discussed in Jewish life and by Jewish scholars. But this question has never been...

Commentary on Zoom 5/31/2020 09:44 AM

I have been conducting classes and lectures on Zoom for about three months now. I admit that Zoom is a great creation and that it enabled many of us to remain connected one to another, and to be able to study together. However, as with all good things in life, like chocolate and ice cream, they have their limitations and perhaps should only be done in moderation. I find it quite difficult to...

Sights and Sounds 5/25/2020 06:04 PM

Being cooped up in the houses of my children, in Woodmere and Monsey, over the past two months has left me with an ambivalent feeling regarding the experience. On one hand, my family bonds have been strengthened by the fact that I have spent more time with my children in person and with my grandchildren via the miracle of Zoom, than I ever imagined I would still be able to do. But, on the...

Shavuos – The Book of Ruth 5/17/2020 08:27 AM

Every biblical narrative has at its heart a main character, a hero or heroine. Even though the book and the scroll of Ruth is named for her, the true main character and heroine of the story is Naomi. This is confirmed in the book itself when the prophet Samuel, the author of the book, relates that when Ruth gave birth to Oved, the women of Bethlehem declared; “A male child has been born to...

Long Lost Relatives 5/10/2020 11:33 AM

Because of the increased use of Zoom over the past months, people have been listening to my lectures who otherwise would have been deprived of that great benefit since they do not live in the Rechavia section of Jerusalem. Because of this, as well, I have discovered relatives that I never knew existed and with whom I have had no connection. The discovery of long-lost relatives always comes...

These are the times… 5/3/2020 03:55 PM

At the low point of American fortunes in the Revolutionary War against England, the American army wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was one of the most bitter winters in recorded history, not only weather-wise, but in all other respects for the ragged army of George Washington. He was down to about 3,000 troops. The British had 10,000 troops in New Jersey plus 6,000 mercenaries,...

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow zt”l 4/26/2020 12:00 AM

A wonderful person whom I knew for the past half century, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, passed away recently from the plague of the Coronavirus. He was better known as the Novominsker Rebbe. He was a person of many talents and of wide perspective. In our Jewish world today, such a person is becoming exceedingly rare. There are not many people like him who were able to bridge different groups and who...