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No Opinion (excerpted from the Wein Press)

For the past few decades, I have written two articles every week for distribution in my synagogue and through the Destiny Foundation. One article has always been based upon the teachings and insights that one can derive from understanding and studying the Torah portion of the week that will be heard publicly in the Sabbath services. The other article was based upon my own personal thoughts and opinions concerning events, personalities, issues and societal controversies that were then under general discussion. Since everyone else had an opinion regarding these matters, I took the liberty of expressing my opinion as well. And the truth be said, I did have an opinion regarding almost every issue raised in Jewish and general society over the past number of decades. In fact, I so valued my opinions that I collected quite a number of them, edited them and then published them in a book entitled “In My Opinion…”. I was quite satisfied with the reception and distribution of this book, and I have received many comments regarding its contents. Needless to say, not everyone agreed with my opinions, but that never bothered me because deep down in my heart I always know that I am always right.
However, as my years have advanced and my eyesight has declined. it has become increasingly difficult for me to produce these two articles every week. It is not so much that I lack what to say as it is that I find it harder and harder to find the energy and the simple physical skills necessary to produce and write these articles. I therefore decided, beginning with this year's Torah cycle last month, that I would only produce the article about the Torah reading of the week and cease continue writing and producing the opinion article. The opinion article always was longer and, in many ways, much more difficult to write and produce. It always required heavier and more detailed editing because opinions are by their very nature controversial ideas and are about personal controversy, and I was always hesitant about my producing and publishing these types of articles. But nevertheless, the opinion articles flowed on for a number of decades. However, as I mentioned above, my energy level and my eyesight have declined over the past year, and I therefore resolved that I was no longer going to produce any opinion articles for general circulation.
Somewhat naïvely, I thought that this would pass relatively unnoticed. There is no shortage of printed material published by excellent writers and noted rabbinic scholars every week so I certainly felt safe in assuming that the opinion article that I wrote would not necessarily be noted as being missing. However, I was wrong because I received quite a number of messages from people demanding to know why I stopped sending them my weekly opinion article. In one sense, I am very flattered that apparently people have noted that my opinion article no longer appears. However, I have also been forced through the medium of this newsletter to apologize and explain why my opinion article no longer appears. Again, my friends, it is not for any lack of opinion that I do not publicly express my opinion any longer. It is simply that the process of writing it and distributing it has become difficult and burdensome to me. I long ago learned that when there is no longer any enthusiasm for the project at hand then it is wiser and safer to close down the project and let it rest on its previous laurels. So, I simply decided to close down the project of writing an opinion article every week. I am never happy to give up on a project but I have always prided myself on being practical and realistic and being able to say when enough is enough.
I had thought that when I no longer have to write about my opinion, I would have fewer opinions. However, this has not been the case. In fact, I am afraid that I have become even more opinionated than I was before when I was still writing an opinion article every week. It is simply human to have an opinion about everything that goes on around us. Life itself is little more than a series of incidents that lead to decisions that form the type of life that we live in general terms through the creation of the society in which we exist. There are very few individuals if any that have no opinions about the country and society in which they live, about the governmental leaders of that society and about their own personal goals, ambitions and plans. Sometimes our opinions are obvious to all and sometimes they are so delicate and sensitive that we ourselves don't quite recognize and appreciate them. They are certainly there, and they certainly guide and lead us in myriad ways, even if we do not acknowledge or understand their presence and importance. It may be possible to abstain in expressing one's opinion, from voting in an election process, from even acting upon one's own opinion, but I feel that it is almost impossible to say honestly that one has no opinion. We all have opinions on issues that matter even if we do not reveal them to others and sometimes we even stifle them within our own selves. So, I am certain that all of you are aware that even if I do not resume an opinion article every week for distribution, I still have opinions about the life and society that goes on around me. Advanced age serves as a stimulus for achievement in life goals, no matter what age we attain or infirmity that we may unfortunately suffer from. And as I write these words, the sneaking suspicion has crossed my mind that perhaps occasionally in the near future I will once again write about my opinion concerning the events and personalities of the time. Just as one should be able to say that enough is enough, one should also be able to say never say never.


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