Friday, July 30th 2021   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: Eikev

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“DISCIPLINE AND SUFFERING“ 

As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children.

Like in any genre, there...

Off the Pulpit: Reason and Passion

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The Spanish existentialist philosopher Miguel De Unamuno once explained the difference between conventional philosophy and existentialism by reworking the classical syllogism. Students in logic are taught that Socrates is a man; all men are mortal; therefore Socrates is mortal. But the existentialist says: I am a man; all men are mortal. Therefore, I will die.

The first is a conclusion of logic. The second is of...

Person in the Parsha: Va’etchanan

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“WHAT. ME? WORRY?!“

I am a worrier. My friends and family tease me about it.

I sometimes worry about personal matters, and sometimes about professional concerns. More often, I worry about things that are going on in the community or in the world. 

I worry about the economy, and I worry about Iran’s development...

Off the Pulpit: Toothpaste and Travel

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In my house growing up we only used used Crest toothpaste. That may seem a negligible datum, but in fact it shaped my childhood. I learned that no other toothpaste was used by smart, responsible people. When I visited another child’s house and saw Colgate, or one of the unserious toothpastes like Ultrabright (the very name suggests frivolity) I knew those parents were not as wise as...

Person in the Parsha: Devarim

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“THE PATH TO ELOQUENCE”

It is an experience common to all freshmen. One comes to a new campus, knows no one, and tries to orient himself by identifying the senior students who seem to have prestige. Then, he tries to connect with these campus big shots.

This was my experience precisely when, many years ago, I explored...

Off the Pulpit: Laughter and Love

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In years of interviewing bar and bat mitzvah students, a few patterns have recurred. One of the questions I ask is — if your best friend were sitting here, what would she or he say about you? And by far the most common single answer, surprisingly, is, “I’m funny.”

Now we have to assume that not every 13-year-old is a budding Seinfeld. But the deeper implication...

Person in the Parsha: Matot-Masei

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“HONESTY AND INTEGRITY”

 Every so often, I come across a sentence of another person’s writing which expresses one of my own thoughts in a language far superior to my own. Over the years, I have contemplated and written about the concepts of “honesty” and “integrity” and the difference between the two.

But never was I able...

Off the Pulpit: Unkind Thoughts

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In decades of serving as a rabbi, I cannot tell you for sure which phenomenon in the synagogue is most commonly helpful, but I can tell you which is the most commonly destructive – the assumption of ill-will.

Disagreements are expected. Even arguments can be salutary. God knows the Jewish people have a decided tendency to argue. But the belief that the other person is advancing a position because...

Person in the Parsha: Pinchas

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

 “ZEALOTRY AND TOLERANCE”

Jewish people teach Jewish values to their children, and to all who wish to be informed about their faith. If one is asked “Should I or should I not?” we generally respond with clear and certain advice: “Yes, you should”, if the value is a positive one, or “No, you should not”, when the value...

Off the Pulpit: Heart Shells

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When my brother and I were kids, we would go into the front yard and play egg toss. The idea of the game was to move farther and farther from one another and toss the egg so that the other could catch it without allowing the shell to break. My mother did not approve of this game.

The key to success was to move your hands with...