Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

PLURALISM AND HISTORY 7/14/2019 06:36 AM

Throughout Jewish history every era or number of generations has had its own buzzword that encapsulates within it the apparently new idea that was to replace the tradition of Torah study and observance as the core of Jewish life. In our generation the great buzzword that afflicts us is pluralism. Even though the word is hard to define, the idea that it represents is clear and dangerous. It...

IS MUSIC NEUTRAL? 7/7/2019 06:18 AM

When I am in a contemplative mood, which really does not happen too often, I enjoy listening to classical music on my computer. A few weeks ago, I was listening to Symphony, No. 2 by Gustav Mahler. While listening to this long and dramatic masterpiece of somber music, I thought about the composer and his tortured life. Mahler was a Jew in Vienna at the end of the 19th century. Despite his...

LOCKSMITHS 5/5/2019 12:46 PM

There is currently an advertising campaign broadcasting on Israeli radio and other media trying to induce listeners and readers to consider choosing to become a locksmith as a profession. Radio commercials state that there are over 3 million requests for locksmiths annually in Israel, to solve the inevitable problems that come with having locks and safes and there are less than 300 certified...

THE PASSING SCENE 3/31/2019 10:49 AM

I have very wonderful friends who are kind enough to pick me up in their automobiles and drive me to the synagogue during the week. They are very punctual and the time that is set for pick up is almost always exactly observed. Because of this, I go down to the corner of my street and wait there at least 10 minutes before the appointed time because I enjoy the scene which is never the same and...

WEIGHTY MATTERS 3/3/2019 10:17 AM

Some time ago I was standing in a long line before the check-in counter at an airport in the United States. There was quite a delay in reaching that counter because a young woman was having a great difficulty because her suitcase was overweight. The airlines are very strict in enforcing weight limits on luggage, especially because charging for luggage and overcharging for overweight luggage has...

DOUBLE ADAR 2/10/2019 06:37 AM

The month of Adar is designated in Jewish life as the month of joy and celebration – and with this being a Leap Year, we have a double dose of those special feelings. In every nineteen-year lunar-solar calendar cycle, there are seven years in which an extra lunar month is inserted into the Jewish calendar. This extra leap month is always the month of Adar. And with the wondrous holiday of...

TEXTING 1/13/2019 07:48 AM

I must preface this piece of writing by stating that I am a technological dinosaur. I hardly ever use my cell phone except in emergencies and when I am visiting outside of Israel. I do not have a smart phone or even a kosher phone. I just have an old-fashioned cell phone that only makes and receives calls. Additionally, I admit that I never text; I do not know how it is done. And, in any event,...

Being Aware of Hellenism Today 12/2/2018 09:00 AM

The holiday of Hanukah marks the struggle between the Hellenistic view of the world and of life and that of traditional Judaism and the values that it represented and continues to represent. The Hellenistic world was a superstitious world. It was a world where human beings were represented as gods, and a world of paganism, where idols, icons and statues were all glorified and worshiped,...

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...

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...