Wednesday, June 16th 2021   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: Chukat

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“The Many Songs of Leadership” 

Everyone has his or her own voice. Some express it loudly and clearly; some just mumble or whisper. There are those who let their voices be heard only in their professional lives and are silent and withdrawn at home. Others use their voices only within their families and stifle their voices in the outside world.

Off the Pulpit: The Failure of Success

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

People often speak about the lessons one can learn from failure. We know that failure can teach you humility, resilience and a certain acceptance of the inequities of life. There are also lessons to learn from early success, both good and bad.

Dostoevsky had a gambling problem. The great novelist was often in debt and yet could not prevent himself from losing still more at the gambling tables. His compulsion...

Person in the Parsha: Korach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“THE SECRET OF REMAINING CORRECT“ 

Very often, we think that if a person is especially spiritual, he cannot possibly be very practical. It is as if religious devotion and good common sense just don’t go together.

My own experience has taught me that, on the contrary, some of the soundest advice I have ever received came...

Off the Pulpit: Is it my fault?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When something bad or tragic happens to people, they will often say, “what did I do to deserve this?” Many people insist that nothing happens without a reason. Karma, or what you put out there, is the cause for whatever you may be suffering today. I don’t believe that is the way the world works. Rather it has always appeared to me that much of life...

Person in the Parsha: Shelach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“TRUE BLUE” 

This week, I begin by taking the liberty of sharing two very personal experiences with you. Neither experience felt momentous at the time they occurred, but both experiences had significant impact on my “inner” spiritual life.

The first occurred several decades ago when a group of Israeli scholars visited Baltimore, where Chavi and I...

Off the Pulpit: The trap of acclaim

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The Athenian general Phocion was considered the wisest politician of his day, although he often opposed the prevailing consensus. Once, when his speech was interrupted by enthusiastic cheering, he paused: “Have I inadvertently said something stupid?”

Everyone in public life has had this experience. There are certain declarative or even disparaging statements that will arouse enthusiasm, not for their wisdom, but for their effectiveness as rallying cries....

Person in the Parsha: Beha’alotecha

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, style, and size. They varied from somber dark browns and grays to tropical...

Off the Pulpit: A true hero

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In 1930 Winston Churchill asked, “Can a nation remain healthy, can all nations draw together, in a world whose brightest stars are film stars?” That question is far more cogent today than it was when Churchill first asked. We are a culture that lionizes people who create clever mini-videos or run faster than the person next to them. Skill is confused with character, and children revere people who, whatever...

Person in the Parsha: Naso

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“SANCTITY AND SANCTIMONY“

We are all full of contradictions. There is a part of us which is noble, kind and generous. But there is another part that is selfish and stingy, and which can even be cruel.

That is the way we were created. We have the potential for good, yet it is matched with our potential...

Off the Pulpit: From beyond the grave

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The poet Langston Hughes asked that a particular Duke Ellington song be played at his funeral: “Do Nothing Until You Hear From Me.”

Is such a thing possible? The idea of hearing messages from beyond the grave has tantalized human beings for as long as can remember. The Jewish tradition certainly believes that this life is not all. The possibility that there is some sort of murky bridge...