Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: MATOT-MASEI

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

BREAKING PROMISES

It was a typical park bench conversation. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time, and we both were delighted when we ran into each other by chance that afternoon.

We shook hands, and withdrew to...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: Listen, Israel

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Deuteronomy is the great book of listening. We live in a visual time; our age is saturated with images. Everyone’s cellphone carries a camera and can document the sights of our lives. But over and over in the first chapters of Deuteronomy we read the word...
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: PINCHAS

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

TEAMWORK AND LEADERSHIP

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” I believe that most of us will enthusiastically agree to these two dictums, the...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: Doors

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Franz Kafka in his famous parable “Before the Law” writes about a man who stands before a door designated only for him, but dies without entering. A very different spirit from Kafka, Ralph Waldo Emerson, nonetheless anticipated the existentialist by writing: “Men live on the brink...
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Doing It My Way

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINBEB

Most of us have had occasions in our lives when we acted as supervisors over others. It might have been in our role as parents disciplining our children, it might have been as employers giving instructions to employees, or it might have been any number...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: OTSOG

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Do you know OTSOG? That is the shorthand for “On the Shoulders of Giants” an absolutely singular book. In the mid 1960’s, the renowned sociologist Robert Merton decided to find out the origin of the phrase attributed to Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen farther,...
Continue Reading ⇒

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...
Continue Reading ⇒

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...
Continue Reading ⇒

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...
Continue Reading ⇒

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...
Continue Reading ⇒