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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

THE SHADCHAN

Matchmaking is an old, traditionally blessed and honored Jewish occupation. In fact, the Talmud attributes matchmaking to be the Lord's primary preoccupation. Only Jews speak about the Lord in such an intimate fashion. In any event, the shadchan as matchmaker appears as part of every Jewish society and in all times and places. Reliance on "official" (read professional) shadchanim waxed and waned...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TIME, SPACE AND SIZE

In halacha, measurements of time, space and size are essential ingredients of proper observance of mitzvot and ritual obligations. There are set time limits for the recitation of prayers and for the entry and exit of the Sabbath and holy days, there are minimum sizes for the required halachic consumption of certain foods and drinks and there are space (height, width, etc.) measurements that...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

POST TISHA B'AV REFLECTIONS

Having safely passed through Tisha B'Av this week and having had that long day to think about the events that the day commemorates, I am taking the liberty to share a few of my thoughts about that day with you. The primary events that the day commemorates refer to the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. The loss of the Temples was not only a blow to the religion of the Jews...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MOURNING

We are currently in the midst of the weeks of mourning that mark the commemoration of the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and the loss of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Today there are grief counselors who help us survive times of tragedy mourning. However, in Jewish history and tradition, ritual, poetry and public worship services served to be most effective. The purpose...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WORLD WAR I AND THE JEWS

We are about to mark the ninetieth baleful anniversary of the outbreak of World War I - the "Great War" as it was then naively known. The war was the catalyst for all of the other murderous wars, revolutions and events of the bloodiest century in human history that followed this war. The war was brought about by catastrophic miscalculations of the great European powers. It was a combination of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

TECHNOLOGY AND TRADITION

The explosion of creativity and invention that mark the advance of human exploitation of new technologies in all fields of endeavor has been a continuing feature of world society over the last few centuries. In the Jewish world, new innovations in technology always engender questions of halacha and of religious and social policy. Since new technology almost always entails the forsaking of the old...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SELF-HATERS

The history of the Jewish people is replete with descriptions of Jews who hated themselves for being born Jewish and who therefore hated Judaism, other Jews and many times humankind generally. These self-haters were traditionally recognized in the Jewish world as being traitors and as a danger to Jewish survival. In the Bible we read of such people as Ravshakeh, the Jewish, Hebrew-speaking,...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE GREAT EQUALIZER

I have had to spend considerable time over the past few weeks with my father who was taken ill and was being treated in a local Jerusalem hospital. Having been a community and synagogue rabbi for decades, I am no stranger to visiting hospitals and patients. Yet, this latest experience of visiting the hospital a number of times every day taught me a lesson, viscerally and emotionally, that I had...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MARRIAGE

June is traditionally the month of marriages in the Western world and judging by the number of wedding invitations that my wife and I have recently received, this June appears to be an especially bountiful month. The institution of marriage is one of the fundamental ideas and supports of Judaism. The Jewish family is the only method of proven continuity in the Jewish world and it has been...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

FLOWERS

Having just recently celebrated the holiday of Shavuot and with the onset of the current summer season, Jerusalem is awash in flowers. The Jerusalem municipality has planted flowers all over the city and private citizens have also done their part from their balconies and flower boxes. One of the features of Israeli life is the constant presence of flowers. There are weekly Shabat flowers, paying...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein