Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Artists and Passengers

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The medieval poet Moses Ibn Ezra used the following simile: We are like passengers on a ship, believing we are stationary when in fact we are headed toward a destination. Similarly, we do not realize that as we believe our lives to be steady state, we move...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: Spiritual fractals

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The cauliflower explains a lot about the Jewish tradition.

A fractal is a self-similar pattern, whose scale or size differs. Things in nature display different degrees of such self-similarity — break a cauliflower apart and a piece will look like a whole. Much of the modern...
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Beshalach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

HORSE AND RIDER

Pharaoh was just the first.

One way of looking at Jewish history is as a series of encounters with evil rulers. Pharaoh, whom we have been reading about these past several weeks, was just the first tyrant who persecuted us....
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Bo

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

LET’S TALK IT OVER

I have long believed that all conflicts between people could be settled if the parties to the dispute would agree to simply sit down together and talk. There are, of course, times when I have come to question this...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: Resolutions for the new year

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

1. To laugh often, but in amusement, not in derision. 2. To pray often, but with appreciation, not avarice. 3. To lift my eyes from screens and remind myself of the variety, beauty, occasional savagery and sublimity of God’s created world. 4. To try listening without...
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Va’era

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

HOPELESS

I remember the conversation very well. It was a discussion among a group of assorted friends, from a variety of backgrounds. One or two were true scholars. The others were not scholars by any stretch of the imagination but were familiar...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: Cheap but precious

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In a Talmud seminar Talmud with Prof. David Weiss Halivni we once came across a misquotation from a well known Talmudist. When we questioned Prof. Halivni, he asked us in turn how many had complete sets of Talmud in our homes. We all raised our hands. How many...
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Shemot

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Can you sleep at night? There is so much trouble in the world. Violence, wars large and small, natural disasters, disease. We all personally know many who are suffering at this very moment. Some are friends and acquaintances living in...
Continue Reading ⇒

Off the Pulpit: How Serious Is Your Problem?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Years ago I read a brilliant anecdote about George S. Kaufman, prize winning playwright: On the TV show “This Is Show Business” the youthful singer Eddie Fisher complained that girls refuse to date him because of his age. This was Kaufman’s reply:

“Mr. Fisher, on Mt....
Continue Reading ⇒

Person in the Parsha: Vayechi

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“NO TWO SNOWFLAKES ARE ALIKE”

When I’m not in Israel, I live on the eastern seaboard of the United States, which, at the time of writing this particular piece, had recently been hit by a severe snowstorm. Most people find snowfall...
Continue Reading ⇒