Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

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...

LOSING TIME 12/8/2019 10:25 AM

One of the many hazards of international travel is the change of time zones. This usually leads to what we commonly call jet lag. This can be very disconcerting and oftentimes require days and even weeks before its effect is completely dissipated. Having recently traveled back and forth from Israel to the United States I was acutely aware of the seven-hour time difference between the two...

A Recovering News Junkie 12/1/2019 09:53 AM

Until recently I have been a news junkie my whole life. As a child growing up during World War II, and my parents being European-born with families in Europe and the land of Israel. during that dark period our home was constantly tuned to the radio for the latest news bulletins. One of my earliest memories is hearing the shrieks and rants of Hitler over the radio. As I grew up, I became addicted...

LEFTOVERS 11/24/2019 09:46 AM

Who is there amongst us that has not experienced the joy of eating leftovers? From time immemorial Jews have been eating Shabbat leftovers on Tuesday. The Talmud itself makes note of this fact by telling us the story of the Roman officer who so enjoyed a Shabbat meal on Shabbat that he had his chef prepare the same meal on Tuesday. However, he quickly realized that the taste was not quite the...

Auto Emancipation 11/17/2019 11:29 AM

In the late part of the nineteenth century, Dr. Leo Pinsker, one of the leading lights of the Lovers of Zion movement, wrote a book called Autoemancipation. The theme of the book was that the Jewish people should no longer wait for others to come to their aid and free them from the bondage of the long exile that they were still enduring, but rather that the Jews, by their own volition and...