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Title Match: Wein, Rabbi Berel
Wein, Rabbi Berel on  aishAudio
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WB 806 A

 'Some controversies just take on a life of their own' says Rabbi Wein in his half-joking introduction to his Great Controversies in Judaism series. Dissent and rebellion always existed in Jewish history, but by the Saducees and Pharisees, their intense dispute raged till the point of civil war. The power struggle between the fearsome Jewish King Alexander Janeus and the rabbis who opposed his religious rebellion teach us the collective dangers of 'absolute rule.'

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WB 806 B

There's no feud like a family feud, and in 8th century Babylonia, a dynastic struggle between brothers gave birth to the heretical Karaite movement. Denying the divinity of the Talmud, the Karaites held tremendous influence over many people. Though now they have disappeared into near oblivion, the Jewish scholarship that developed to combat them remains the consummate sign of philosophical victory.

 
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WB 806 C
In the Golden Age of Spain, the Jews enjoyed wealth, prominence and peace. In the 14th century, the Spanish Inquisition turned into another bitter period in Jewish history. The Jews were given the frightening choice: convert to Christianity or lose everything. While the Marranos chose to convert and remain in Spain, the Exiles left with nothing but the clothes on their back. The fate that befell each group bears a telling message about the alternative consequences of assimilation.
 
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WB 806 D
The popularity of Shabsai Tzvi was the worst false messiah debacle in Jewish history. One-third of the Jewish world was swept up in a fervor, selling their homes and businesses and relocating to the Holy Land in anticipation of the redemption. But the aftermath of Shabsai Tzvi's fall was as dramatic as the rise itself, resulting in witch hunts against former followers, the rise of Jacob Frank, another false messiah, and most lasting of all, an increase in Jewish skepticism.
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WB 806 E
The Reform movement was a unique phenomenon in Jewish history. For the first time, assimilation was proposed as an ideology and not as an isolated immediate crisis. Its effect was like a tidal wave: immediate, sweeping, and devastating. Generations of Jews were lost and traditional Jews continue repairing the damage of its wake to this very day.
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WB 806 F
The rise of Chassidus was an amazing revolution that occurred within traditional Judaism. It grew during times of brutal anti-Semitism and horrible social inequalities within Jewry. It revived Kabbalah and promoted prayer and joy as the primary ways a Jew should serve God. But to the Vilna Gaon and his followers, this anti-intellectualism of Chassidus was so dangerous that it erupted in physical battles. By the 1850's these opposing forces united against two common enemies - the Czarist government and rising secularism, which helped them become a mighty force to preserve Judaism during those changing times.
 
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WB 806 G
To appreciate the ongoing heated negotiations for territorial concessions, it is imperative to understand each sides theological and political position. Rabbi Wein cites Torah giants on whether it's a mitzvah to return to the Land of Israel now, or whether it's forbidden to return until the Moshiach arrives. Hear a chilling foresight that Maimonides gave on the dangers of political messianism. Rabbi Wein moves on to describe in exacting detail the secularism of political Zionism, the main causes of division, and the crucial issue needing to be resolved for the future of not only Israel, but for the entire Jewish people.
 
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WB 806 H
Perhaps the most euphoric moment in Israeli history was the recapture of the Old City in '67. With the original live news broadcast of the IDF soldiers at the Western Wall and Rabbi Wein's personal recollections, both its terror and victory vividly come to life.
 

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WB 806 I
The famed Dreyfus trial, where a Jewish officer in the French army was falsely accused of spying, unleashing political forces in the world that were shocking. Through prominent French journalists, most notably Emile Zola, this heinous miscarriage of justice was decried. The virulent anti-Semitism that finally convicted Dreyfus would eventually lead to the Shoah.
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WB 806 M

The beginnings of Jewish monarchy got off to a slow and rocky start. But the eighty years of King David and King Solomon’s rule were able to solidify the Nation of Israel as a major player in world history. We are told which kings of the Davidic Dynasty followed the role model of David and which were corrupt. And which three achievements set the mold for Jewish leadership.

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