Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

Spirituality

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...

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...

IT LOOKS GOOD 10/20/2019 11:51 AM

We are all aware that looks can be quite deceiving. When the Torah describes for us the concept of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, it refers to it as being most desirous and pleasant in the eyes of our mother Eve. As we all know, this became the source of human mortality and the bitter sin that led to expulsion from Paradise. So, the lesson should be obvious that not everything that looks...

SUKKOT 10/6/2019 10:55 AM

The holiday of Sukkot is a special and joyous one throughout the Jewish world wherever it is commemorated. But, here in the holy city of Jerusalem, it is uniquely joyous. Jerusalem is inundated with visitors who arrive here from every corner of the world and represent not only the variety of people that compose the Jewish people but also tens of thousands of people of other faiths and...

LOOKING FOR OURSELVES 9/1/2019 12:13 PM

There is a natural curiosity within each of us as to our origins and ancestry. There are even many organizations, professional, educational and commercial enterprises as well that are solely devoted to ancestral and genealogical searches. Building family trees is a very popular avocation in our world. All of this is very true in general society, but it is also a frequent occurrence in Jewish...

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...