Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

SPRING 3/14/2021 12:03 AM

I think that we can all agree that it is been a rather difficult winter that we have experienced over the past few months. Here, in Israel, it was a winter of political disarray, Corona issues and enforced lockdowns, and the usual, somewhat depressing, factors of winter – short days and long and often lonely nights. So, the advent of spring is certainly a harbinger of better times and brighter...

PRAYER AND CONCERTS 3/7/2021 02:57 PM

There is always an element of musical performance associated with Jewish prayer. In Temple times, Levites presented a musical performance every day in the Temple in Jerusalem, as part of the temple service itself. This presentation included musical instruments as well as a male choir. Josephus describes how many non-Jews from all parts of the Roman Empire visited the second Temple to gaze at...

THE FEW AND THE MANY 2/7/2021 12:24 AM

Many of you are aware, as I have previously written in another blog, I have just completed writing a book of stories that will be published in the next few months. The Torah teaches us that our great teacher Moshe, even after writing the Torah, had ‘ink left in his quill.’ I do not, God forbid, pretend to resemble Moshe in any meaningful way, but I also have some stories left over that will...

MUTATIONS 1/31/2021 12:43 PM

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am certain that all of us have become knowledgeable regarding the subject of mutations. It seems that all viruses regularly mutate in order to be able to survive. The efforts of epidemiologists are intended to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate the mutation, and make certain that the preventive vaccine is operative even against the new form of the virus...

HAVDALAH 12/13/2020 01:05 PM

At the conclusion of the Sabbath the rabbis ordained an additional short service to mark the end of the holy Sabbath and the beginning of the weekday. I have always been emotionally affected by this service. It is the genius of Judaism to be able to differentiate between the holy and the mundane, between what is special and unique, and what is essentially ordinary and usual. In fact, it was...

LOCKDOWN FEVER 10/18/2020 03:16 PM

In the good old days when a person was isolated and alone for a period of time in one's own home, the common expression was that one was suffering from cabin fever. Due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effect upon society, many countries including Israel have enforced stay-at-home lockdowns in an attempt to combat the contagious nature of the disease. There is great debate raging in all the...

OPEN ORTHODOXY 10/12/2020 10:47 AM

Since transparency is a favorite buzzword in today's enlightened society, I feel compelled to warn my beloved readers of my articles and essays, that this article is not about what you may think, given its title. I am not referring to radical ideas and behavior that masquerade as remaining within the boundaries of Jewish tradition and halachic norms. Rather, this article is about our synagogue...

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...

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,...

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...