Rabbi Berel Wein: “I, Too, Believed America was the Exception to the Rule. No Longer.”



Even a cursory review of world history allows the reader to realize that great and mighty countries and empires fall not necessarily because of outside pressures, but because of the implosion of the society itself. Rome ruled the world for over five centuries, and, at the height of its power, it succumbed to barbaric tribes. The breakup and disintegration of the Empire came as Rome was undermined by the spread of Christianity within its society and the dissatisfaction and dissolution of social norms. These factors gave way to internal violence and a complete abandonment of any sense of loyalty to the Empire itself, or to the history that Rome had so carefully fashioned and preserved over its centuries of hegemony. In short, Rome collapsed from within and not from without.

The same can be said of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century, which never recovered from its foolish, and self-destructive exile of its Jewish population at the beginning of the century. It no longer possessed the creativity and will to succeed that had driven it to become one of the major powers in the world.

The Ottoman Empire was also rotten from the inside, and any stress placed upon it would hasten its extinction and disappearance. The first World War provided that stress. and the Ottoman Turkish Empire never recovered. In our time, we have witnessed the destruction of Communism within the Soviet Union after 75 years of brutal and tyrannical rule. Once again, the Soviet Union collapsed from the inside and not from the outside. It had weathered all of the storms of World War II and the Cold War, but it could not survive because of the malaise of its population, the burdens of bureaucracy and inefficient government that it had foisted upon a helpless populace.

A serious question has now arisen regarding the future of the United States of America. It is a very polarized society, and over the past decades it has lost its moral footing. It has become dissolute, hateful of its own heritage, spoiled by too much material wealth, and subject to Marxist indoctrination emanating from its educational systems. Whether or not the United States will be able to survive this storm is, as of yet, an undecided question. However, it is clear to me that no matter what happens, it will become increasingly difficult for Orthodox Jews to maintain themselves in American society. The entire culture is hostile to Torah values and to a Jewish way of life.

Jews have waxed prosperous over the past decades, and the continuity of Orthodox educational institutions is contingent upon the continuation of that prosperity. However, whether America will have a prosperous future over the next few decades is a difficult question to answer. There will be more governmental regulations regarding curriculum, and the nature of educational classes in schools. Education separated by sex will certainly not be allowed, and the concentration on Torah studies will be severely limited. I hope that I am wrong regarding my fears, but my heart tells me otherwise.

Certainly, the America that I grew up in and lived in for most of my lifetime no longer exists. There is no longer wholesome entertainment nor a feeling of moral probity. America was once a religious country. Today it has become overwhelmingly secular with all the attendant evils that such a change in society inevitably engenders. History teaches us that nothing goes on forever, and that great countries and empires rise but inevitably fall.

For many years, I thought that the United States was an exception to that rule, but I no longer believe so. The curve has already flattened, and we are witness to the downward spiral that leads to irrelevance and impotence in world events, I fervently pray that I am wrong but these are my impressions as I view the current scene.

Shabbat Shalom

R Berel Wein


  1. “subject to Marxist indoctrination emanating from its educational systems”

    Rarely have I read a more stupid statement from someone who should know better. Marxism died decades ago, and was never a force in the US. He owes an apology to the victims and survivors of actual Marxism.

  2. “The entire culture is hostile to Torah values and to a Jewish way of life.”

    Well Donald Trump is certainly hostile to Torah values. Hopefully we will remove him and his supporters from office this fall.

  3. Ah, the exquisite moral probity of the 60s and 70s when you could harrass and humiliate women and minorities and no one blinked.

  4. Remember the good old days, when women knew their place, and you could treat non-white people like garbage, and Orthodox Jews might get fired for refusing to work on Shabbos, and you’d certainly lose business if they saw you wearing a yarmulke, and Jews were kept out of prestigious universities, and anyone who wasn’t necessarily of the ruling-ethnicity could get mocked and tormented publicly with impunity….

    But the references to sex in popular culture were buried under a heavy layer of euphemism, and THAT is what matters most!!!

  5. Good article by Rabbi Wein; should have been written in 2012 when Democrats voted clearly to remove any reference to “God” in their platform (although the vote taker went against the majority, clearly, leave it in there). Based on the works of Rabbi Spiro, Rabbi Miller and others, Hashem protects Jews in countries where Jews are allowed to practice Torah laws and values freely – and choose to do so. At some point, when a majority of Jews choose, on their own, to renege on their commitment to Torah and Torah values, assimilate, and more, then Hashem has shown us all how ugly countries will turn against us. I truly hate the idea of victimhood because it implies lack of personal responsibility. Unfortunately, when it comes to Hashem’s protection, or lack thereof, it is a clear reflection of how we feel about Him and His values. Let us learn from the past and find new ways to inspire us to find ways back to our Creator and his Torah and He will protect us as He always has, when we deserve it.

  6. I am a woman who lived through the 70’s and I always felt respected and had the opportunity to succeed in anything I put in the effort to do.

  7. This has to be one of the most foolish pieces I’ve read in quite some time.

    America is so “subject to Marxist indoctrination” that we’re the only developed country without universal health care and we elected Donald Trump to be President. And our central government is so fragile that in the space of less than 4 years it has become completely useless as a result of the total incompetence and corruption of one man and the selfish, greedy people who keep him in power.

    “Marxist indoctrination” indeed. How ludicrous.

  8. I don’t understand why Rabbi Wein does not mention the assault on truth by the leaders of this country. Or how we have elected incompetent, corrupt and immoral leaders. We have a nation whose leaders divide not unite.
    We also have an education system that promotes intolerance, and protest movements that have antisemitic leaders.
    We need a return to competence, common sense, and common decency.

  9. Charles B. Hall: Never have I read a more stupid ans blind comment than yours! Marxism clearly is not dead! The leftist radicals of the ’60s became the teachers and professirs of the ’70s and ’80s. History is no longer taught except with an anti-American slant. Thus the young people of today are without a past. They are easily taken in by the radical leftism that th. ey are fed. Look at the stupidity of AOC’s “Green New Deal!” The leftist radicals h

  10. Have takwn over tje Democratic Party and have made it the party of antiSemitism. Come out from under your rock and smell the coffee! You are 100% wrong!
    Also, you and Pevsner, with your Trump-bashing, twll me: in exactly WHAT way is Trump against Jewish values? You have NO IDEA what Jewish values are! Trump is the best friend the Jewiah people have had in tje White House in a very long time! I cannot believe some of the stupudity I’m reading here! Wake up! Do you hate Trumo more than you love your fellow Jews? Do hate Trump more than you love Israel? Do you hate Trump more than you love yourself? This sheer blind, unreasoning Trump-hatred is irrational and pathological! And I, for one, am DAMNED SICK OF IT!!! Rabbi Wein is speaking the absolute, unvarnished truth! You anti-Trump morons ignore it at your (and our) peril! Get this through your heads: Sorry to shock you, but JUDAISM YAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LIBERALISM!

  11. I would hope that all Jews “believe” in the truth as a fundamental value, as an evolutionary strategy for survival. After all, isn’t it a Jewish value to do all that is possible to sustain life? How could Trump’s complete and utter disregard for the truth be anything other than an assault on life itself? Just consider his denial of the reality of the coronavirus and the associated refusal to have the Federal government play its mandated role as protector of the citizens of this country in this particular war. Friend of the the Jews? Really? Those who think this way need education in citizenship and in Jewish values.

  12. While Rabbi Wein’s description applies to extremely Evil Left, including those commenting here infected with TDS, which is based entirely on lies, slander, & seething hate, he is right to worry about America’s ability to survive The Evil Left’s many decades of control over & destruction of education, media, entertainment, career fedwral bureaucracy & now much of the private & public economy. A country cannot survive once enough of its population is extemely misinformed & couldn’t care less about facts, statistics, science, what’s proven to work & not work, violence, major societal disruption, & involvement in every conceivable stupidity, selfishness, victim mentality, & evil all based on lies & hate & all in order to gain power & the vast sums of mony they steal from working people’s money & that of generations not yet born as we are hundreds of trillions in debt to unfunded liabilities at every level of government.

  13. Good Evening Rabbi Wein,

    This is Rafael and I’m sending you this message from my Bungalow in the Catskill Mountains.

    Recently a friend sent me a link to an article you wrote about America, “I believed America was an exception to the Rule.” In this article you sound Pessimistic about America’s Future and about the Future of Orthodox Jewry in America.

    I believe, however that your pessimism is completely unwarranted, and that Orthodox Jewry will continue to find a good home in America, and like we have for the past 100 years, we will keep coming up here to the Catskills to enjoy the Nature and Beauty as we did all these past years.

    Here are some points I would like to make:

    First, you can’t compare the Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire to our Modern Day America today–this Analogy is hardly a good one:i
    Let me explain: It was inevitable that the Roman Empire of the Ancient World, even at the height of its power, was bound to Collapse sooner or later. This collapse of the Roman Empire was inevitable because the very foundations of the Roman Empire stood on Pagan beliefs. In the History of the world, any Empire that is built on Pagan beliefs and falsehood is bound to fail and collapse, sooner than later.

    Now, eventhough it is true that religion has declined somewhat in America in recent years, America’s Foundation is built on a shared Judeo-Christian Heritage.And the fact is that by far the Majority of Americans still identify with this Judeo Christian heritage, and they will keep doing so for the forcible future–the Pew survey shows that the number of Christians will increase by 2050, eventhough the percentage of Americans identifying as Christian will increase

    The Fact is that 80 percent of Americans, according to the latest PEW survey belong to a religious group. In fact, the Mormon Church reported that the number of Mormons in th US has increased every year since 1830. The Fact is that almost the entire Southern USA belongs to the Evangelical Christians–this part of the US is known as the Bible Belt.

    Next, in Democratic stronghold States like California and NY, the vast majority of people will continue to vote for moderate and Centrist Democrats like Joe Biden and Steny Hoyer( why do you think Elizabeth Warren had to drop out, while turning their backs on extreme Democrats, like members of the Squad: ilhan Omer and Rashid Talib etc…..

    The real problem is our current President, who is one of the most divisive figures in American History. In Fact, Trump is the only President in History against which the Ultra Orthodox Agudas Yisroel come out with a statement, when he was cruelly breaking apart immigrant families.

    When NeoNazis and other haters rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump said: “There are good people on both sides.” In addition, Steve Bannon, who is associated with the white Supremacist Alt right, serve as Chief advisor in the Trump White house for about the first year. Bannon was only fired after Ivanka Trump who is married to a Jewish Husband begged her Father to Fire that Sinister Alt Right Hater.

    But Americans are good people when push comes to shove, and change is in the Air. But unfortunately many of my Orthodox Jewish brothers have their head in the sand, and hold on to a the false ideas that Trump is good for Jews and good for Israel: Eventhough nothing could be further from the Truth.

    So when the next election comes around, Trump, and his White supremacist allies will be a thing of the Past, and America will begin the process healing from one of the worst Presidencies in American History, and a President who was one of the most divisive figures in American History. But as we said above: Change is in the air, and after the next election we’ll begin the process of healing and America will really be Great again once more.


  14. Right on target, Rav Wein. Sorry to say, but American Jews making excuses for the hypocritical Left Demagogues and BLM Marxists deserve what’s coming. Sometimes you get what you ask for. 70% intermarriage rate. Negative growth rate. They don’t even believe in their “system” enough to have children and grow. Slow suicide is preferred. And American Orthodox Jews pray 3 times a day for rebuilding Jerusalem and kibbutz galuyot, but don’t actually believe in their own prayers enough to make aliya. What hypocrites! Enjoy what’s left. It’s almost finished. Their cushy jobs and salaries are more important than what they pray for. You’ll be crying yet.

  15. Rabbi Wein is totally on the ball. In its dissoluteness and free-for-all mentality, America looks increasingly like the Weimar Republic in the Germany of the 1920, we know what came afterwards. Only people with too many vested interests will not see the truth of this.

  16. 22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[b] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

    America has been trying to repent and it really came to light under the Trump Administration. I believe more than half are reaching for HaShem’s mercy. America is being punished for sexual perversion, abortion, kidnapping, inciting wars for gain … but for the last four years her leader, President Trump, was and is a seeker of peace, pro-life, the rescue of women and children from sex slavery, exposing global deep state and I wouldn’t be surprised if he cancels gay marriage – for marriage is sacred – leaving civil unions to those who adhere to sexual perversion. It’s a giant step towards the will of HaShem. And by placing the embassy in Jerusalem, agreeing to the annex of the Golan Heights, being the “older who will serve the younger” … “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” America is being cleansed. She has more virtuous citizens than Sodom ever did. “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still”. How can one say it’s too late to repent?

    To be ungrateful after making one’s fortune in the good years and then claim disappointment when the years aren’t as prosperous is selfish.

  17. I must say the editorial was thought-provoking. If the intention was to stir controversy, it succeeded. I chose to imagine something else. Rabbi, you have given me much to think upon. I live in Alberta, Canada, a province driven into poverty and hopelessness by a Prime Minister enacting every possible radical, globalist agenda. Albertans actually want to join the United States, where a Constitutional Republic preserves rights we can only dream of… no taxation without representation; freedom of press, religion, free thought. Freedom to keep and bear arms. I love Torah because my life is meaningless without Torah. You have given me much to consider. Thank you.

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