Friday, October 30th 2020   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: Lech Lecha

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“ANCESTRAL DECISIONS“

Most people do not give much thought to their ancestral origins. But some do, and I am one of them. I often wonder about my grandparents and their grandparents. Who were they? What was their world like? 

Most of all, I wonder about the decisions that they made, and whether those decisions had any...

Off the Pulpit: Your Politics and Mine — and His and Hers

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Of course your political views are correct, but may I take a moment to remind you of something?

Moses’ leadership was repeatedly challenged and Korach’s uprising against him seemed to have wide support.King David almost lost the battle with his son Absalom, who rebelled against him.

After Solomon, the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel split when different sides proclaimed different Kings. The Maccabees eventually lost the...

Person in the Parsha: Noach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEIBREB

“SURVIVORS OF TRUMA“

There are many words in the English language that originally had great power but have become watered down over the years to the point of meaninglessness. One such word is “survivor.” Another is “trauma.”

When I think back to my early adult life, I remember the word “survivor” being reserved for those who endured...

Off the Pulpit: No Perfect Home

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The Torah begins with the letter bet, the same letter that begins bayit in Hebrew, home. Some have taken this as a signal – here is your home, in the Torah. Yet it is an uneasy home, full of wandering, perplexity and challenge.

Such unease is part of the true nature of home. Commenting on the phrase ger toshav, ‘stranger-resident’ the Maggid of Dubno explains we should all feel...

Person in the Parsha: Bereshit

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

LIFE AND DEATH, FROM ADAM’S PERSPECTIVE“

I invite you to imagine yourself as Adam or Eve. Put yourself in their shoes. Remember that, as the very first humans, they had a most unique perspective on every aspect of a newly created world. Their reactions to their surroundings and to each other had no precedent. They entered the world...

Off the Pulpit: Echoes

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Before my freshman year of college, the synagogue in which I was raised moved to a new location. I visited the old synagogue, now abandoned, and when asked in freshman English to write about a personal experience I wrote the following. Written more than forty years ago, I rediscovered it in a drawer, right before Yom Kippur.

ECHOES

Slowly I ascend...

Off the Pulpit: Loving Jews

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

On Rosh Hashana I spoke about Ahavath Yisrael, loving the Jewish people, and was told by a friend that some young people he spoke to found it elitist and distasteful. Permit me three responses:

1 — Had an Irishman said he loved all the Irish, or an Albanian said she loved all Albanians, my guess is these people would have found it an endearing expression of...

Off the Pulpit: A Reflection and a Prayer

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Each year we wonder, “who will live and who will die?” We know that the question is genuine, but this year it feels more urgent than it has in my lifetime.

By most measures human life has grown better, more prosperous and longer. Hunger and disease — the pandemic obviously aside — have declined. These processes are gradual, and don’t make the morning paper. Humanity as a...

Off the Pulpit: Bring Them Home

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

For five years Hamas has kept the bodies of two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. For six years, an Israeli citizen Avraham Mengistu, has been held by Hamas.

One of the byproducts of distress is that it wipes out the distress of others. As the world has been struggling with the pandemic and all kinds of social unrest, many of us have...

Person in the Parsha: Rosh Hashanah

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WILLING TO CHANGE

Sometimes even the corniest of old jokes has a profound lesson to teach us.

“How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?”

In case you haven’t already heard the answer to this example of tired “light bulb” humor, it goes like this: 

“Just one....