Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Direct your heart to heaven

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

From the Talmud: A favorite saying of the rabbis of Yavneh was: “I am God’s creature and my fellow is God’s creature. My work is in the town and his work is in the country. I rise early for my work and he rises early for...
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Off the Pulpit: Gifted, but Good?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

We are a society geared toward the gifted. We have programs to enhance people’s natural endowments, special training and tutoring, early identification of people with talent or intelligence. Of course it makes sense; innovators and artists and thinkers should be given opportunities to grow their gifts....
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Person in the Parsha: DEVARIM

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

DEVARIM: A SUBLIME AUTOBIOGRAPHY

There is a biography.

And then there is an autobiography.

Our biography is the way others see us. Our autobiography is the way we see ourselves.

Typically, there are sharp differences between the two. Others see us from their...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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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