Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

GRAVES AND MONUMENTS

The current Jewish world has a fascination regarding graves, especially the graves of righteous people and holy humans. There are regular tours to Eastern Europe and other locations that are almost exclusively devoted to visiting the gravesites of the leading rabbinic figures of past centuries. This is especially true in the Chasidic world where massive tours to visit Uman, for example, to pray...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

MONEY FOR THE HOLY LAND

Throughout the long exile of the Jewish people, a few Jews continued to live in the land of Eretz Yisrael under very difficult circumstances. There were waves of substantial Jewish immigration to the country in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, but nevertheless the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael remained in the main small, weak and impoverished. The Ottoman Turks who ruled the country...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

A FRIENDLY RESPONSE

One of the banes of urban living is the insularity and surliness that it breeds among humans. In small towns, people usually say "good morning," "thank you" and "excuse me" to one another on a constant and regular basis. My experience when living in large cities, both here in Israel and in the United States, is that such pleasantries are often omitted and even when offered remain unanswered. I...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

THE WINTER ZMAN

For the tens of thousands of full time yeshiva students, both Israelis and young men from the Diaspora, who are now studying Torah and Talmud here in Israel, this period of time marks the beginning of the "winter zman." The "winter zman" extends from the beginning of the month of Mar Cheshvan until the beginning of the month of Nissan. Because this year of 5765 is a leap year containing two Adar...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

WATCH OUT FOR EXCESS

There is a custom amongst Jews that in the period after the holiday season of Tishrei, and after Pesach as well, that is popularly called "behab." This word is the Hebrew acronym for the days of the week - bet, hay, bet - Monday, Thursday, Monday. On the first series of the days of Monday, Thursday, Monday falling in that order in the months of Cheshvan (after Succot) and Iyar (after Pesach),...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SECURITY

One of the elusive goals of human beings is to become "secure." We search for financial security and certainly hope for physical security. The promise of every Israeli politician (and American, British, French, etc.) is to provide physical security for the citizens of the country. Yet, even in times of peace and quiet - rare as they may be - humans are always gripped by a certain unease regarding...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

YOM KIPPUR AND JEWISH MEMORY

The central theme of Yom Kippur is naturally repentance and heavenly forgiveness. This theme is emphasized in the order of the prayer services of the day. The recitation of the confession of our sins and shortcomings and our commitment to try and do better are an integral part of all of the prayers of this holy day. Yet, there is another, more subtle and not openly expressed idea that haunts the...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SHOFAR

The sounding of the shofar serves as the centerpiece of the services of Rosh Hashana. The rabbis of the Talmud considered the ability to sound the shofar a skill and not "work" in the halachic sense of the latter word. The sounds of the shofar are relatively simple ones - a long flat note called tekiah; a breaking, wailing, three note sound called shvarim; and a nine-note staccato sound called...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

NATIONAL JUDGMENT AND PERSONAL REPENTANCE

This period of time on the Jewish calendar is the time of Selichot, when penitential prayers are recited in the early morning before the actual shacharit morning services. The Ashkenazim will begin the recital of selichot this coming Saturday night/Sunday morning while the Sephardim have been reciting selichot since the beginning of Elul. The selichot that precede Rosh HaShana are of a national...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein

SELF IMPROVEMENT LEADS TO NATIONAL IMPROVEMENT

One of the salient points of Judaism is that it treats and deals with individual Jews and their behavior while at the same time it sponsors a program for the national entity of Israel as well. In Judaism, the individual is responsible not only for personal behavior but for society as a whole. The Talmud long ago reminded that we are all guarantors one for another. Personal piety, if not extended...

Posted in:
In My Opinion
by
Rabbi Berel Wein