Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Go

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

L.P. Smith put it this way: “I might give up my life for my friend, but he had better not ask me to do up a parcel.” Another Smith, Zadie, put it even better: “I will do anything for my family except visit them.” Both were...
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Person in the Parsha: CHUKAT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“DON’T STRIKE THE ROCK“

Very early in my professional training as a psychologist, I learned about a phenomenon known as “the power of positive expectations.” This power was well known even to the ancients, who recognized that if you expect...
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Off the Pulpit: Do People Change?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Recently an experiment involving almost 20,000 people showed that we consistently acknowledge that we have changed in the past but underestimate how much we will change in the future. The music the subjects thought they would love forever changed, and sometimes their taste in food as...
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Off the Pulpit: A great moral question

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

“It is impossible to imagine the Master of all things, who has mercy on all creation, making it impossible for the human race to survive except by shedding blood, even the blood of animals.”

So wrote Rav Kook, the great scholar and...
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Person in the Parsha: Shelach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“THE BLUE ABOVE THE WHITE“

It may not sound like much of a story to you, but to me it was meaningful at many levels. I’ve heard the story three times now, each time from a different person. Each of...
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Person in the Parsha: BEH’ALOTCHA

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

A CANDLE OF GOD IS THE SOUL OF MAN

I no longer remember which Israeli artist colony I was visiting. Perhaps Jaffa. But I will never forget the crude, almost primitive paintings, which were on exhibit. They were all very different in color,...
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Person in the Parsha: NASO

By TZVI HERSH WEINREB

UNIFORMITY AND UNIQUENESS

One of the interesting paradoxes of human life is our tendency to copy one another and to try to “fit in” with friends and acquaintances, while simultaneously trying to be distinct from others, and to be our “own person.”

The pressures...
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Off the Pulpit: Lodestar Love

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The Torah teaches us what to value, sometimes by faithfulness and sometimes by forsakenness.

Despite many trials and difficulties, Ruth remains faithful to Naomi and through that faith, reconstructs their lives and paves the way for the coming of the Messiah.

Samson should treasure his people...
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Off the Pulpit: Loving and Being Loved

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

What is the meaning of the ‘badeken’ — veiling the bride before the wedding ceremony? Some associate it with Rebecca, who upon meeting her future husband Isaac, placed a veil over her face. Others, perhaps more fancifully, associate it with Jacob and Leah, since Jacob intended...
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Person in the Parsha: BAMIDBAR

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“MY TEACHER, MY FATHER”

It was November, 1938. Dark clouds were gathering over all of Europe, and particularly over the Jewish communities in countries like Poland and Lithuania. Although few foresaw the horrific extent of the Holocaust that lay ahead, everyone...
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