Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

SUCCESSFUL SUCCESSIONS

In the Orthodox Jewish world today there are a number of unfortunate struggles over dynastic successions. Some are in the Chasidic world - especially when a rebbe passes away leaving no son to succeed him. Others are in the yeshiva world, where competing members of the former rosh yeshiva's family each feel entitled to assume the role of leadership in the yeshiva. That these struggles bring very...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PESACH FOODS

One of my fondest and earliest memories of Pesach is eating matzo smeared with chicken fat for breakfast. Cholesterol heaven! In our home, when I was a small child there were no dairy products present in the house for the entire Pesach holiday. We ate chicken, meat, matzo and potatoes, with carrots thrown in for variety, all eight days of Pesach. (Remember that I did not live in Israel during my...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEWISH MAIL

In the ancient world and through the period of the Middle Ages there were couriers who risked their lives to deliver letters and messages to far-flung outposts. Diplomatic pouches and their carriers date back at least a millennium and the beginnings of a modern postal system existed in England in the seventeenth century with the advent of postage stamps, and official postal authorities arose in...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SCRIBES

One of the most honored professions in Jewish life is being a scribe: a sofer. It has been the profession of many great men in Jewish history, chief among them the great Ezra who succeeded in rebuilding the Second Commonwealth and Temple. The word sofer in Hebrew literally means "one who counts." Since a scribe in essence "counts" the holy letters and words of the Torah as he writes them, the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SLEEP

Like all matters of seemingly mundane life, sleep is a subject of discussion and guidance in Jewish tradition and halacha. Sleep is one of the necessary blessings of life, allowing a person to refresh one's body and spirit. Sleep deprivation causes serious pain, discomfort and great health hazards. One of the more modern methods of torture of prisoners and arrestees, perfected by the Soviet Union...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE SHABAT TABLE

One of the great joys of preparing for the Shabat, at least as far as I am concerned, is preparing the Shabat table. The halacha provides for the necessity of preparing a Shabat table, unique and glorified over all of the other tables of the rest of the week. Just as there are rules and customs regarding Shabat clothing, Shabat prayers, Shabat leisure and rest, there are rules regarding the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

CONVERTS

Jewish history is rich in the stories of righteous gentiles who converted to Judaism and made tremendous contributions to Jewish life, culture and scholarship. Unfortunately, there have also been many instances when the convert was insincere in the conversion process to Judaism and great problems, both personal and national, resulted. Judaism views insincere conversions as personally damaging to...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE JEWISH HOMELAND

Over the past one hundred fifty years there have been many plans advanced as to the establishment of a Jewish national state. The one that was realized was the one advanced by the Zionist movement of building a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, our historic and biblical homeland. This triumph of Zionism in establishing a Jewish national home in the Land of Israel was naturally based on the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

PARTNERS

The word partners - shutafim in Hebrew - usually connotes in the mind of the reader or listener a business type of commercial relationship. In Jewish law, the cases of partnership arrangements and their inevitable disputes are many and varied. In fact, the laws of partnerships occupy a large section of the entire code of Jewish civil law as represented in the Choshen Mishpat section of the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

JEWISH DRESS

The tradition of Jews is to dress modestly. Over the ages and in different communities, this has had varied expressions in the type of clothing worn but in all instances the common denominator of Jewish clothing was that it enhanced modesty of appearance. Because Jewish clothing was many times distinctive from the clothing of the rest of society, the non-Jewish world took notice of this mode of...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein