Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

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...

GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION 8/19/2018 11:44 AM

Over the span of the millennia of recorded history it is obvious to note that governments of old always either opposed or corrupted religious beliefs for their own benefit or to make religion conform to the politically correct ideas and norms of a time. In the ancient world, governments relied on paganism to strengthen their hold on the people and to create tyrannies. The Roman emperors felt...

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...

THE ABSENCE OF CIVILITY 7/15/2018 02:13 PM

There was a time, well within recorded memory, when political differences and legislative proposals that people had could be discussed and decided with a modicum of civility and even courtesy. That seems not to be true anywhere in the world any longer. Here in Israel we are accustomed to bitter politics and a great deal of personal venom. Yet, somehow this pales in comparison with the current...

THREE WEEKS 7/8/2018 11:13 AM

According to Ashkenazic custom, the period beginning on the fast of the 17th of Tamuz and ending after the fast day of the ninth day of Av is the longest slice of time dedicated to remembering any historical event having occurred to the Jewish people on the Jewish calendar. In the general world such days and commemorations are usually limited to one day such as a Memorial Day commemoration....

THE SADDEST DAY 7/3/2018 09:49 AM

There is no doubt that the saddest day on the Jewish calendar is the commemoration of the fast day of the ninth of Av. The day marks the days of destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem millennia ago. It also harbors within it the commemoration of many other sad and tragic events throughout Jewish history. From the original reluctance of the Jewish people to enter the land of...