Sunday, November 28th 2021   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: Miketz

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“JOSEPH, CHANUKAH AND WISDOM“

 Wisdom is the rarest of all important human qualities. Observers of the contemporary state of affairs often remark that wisdom, which is especially necessary in this day and age, is now particularly lacking.

Yet, at the same time, we are told that there is an age in life when most of us...

Off the Pulpit: A Thanksgiving Prayer

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The first words I say in the morning, in accordance with the Jewish tradition, are Mode Ani, “I thank You.” I walk out of my house and am greeted by the dawn. I step from a house I didn’t build in clothes I did not sew into a day I did not create with a life I was given. Thank you.

With each challenge and difficulty that arises...

Person in the Parsha: Vayashev

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“THE WISDOM OF THE EAST”

There are jokes which are very funny on the surface, but which, upon reflection, can be quite painful and disturbing.

One of them, which was told frequently twenty years ago or more, concerns a matronly woman from the Bronx who seeks to visit a famous guru somewhere in the Far East, perhaps...

Off the Pulpit: More than one way to be a slave

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Pharaoh “intensified the labor” of the Israelites. The tyrant’s motivation was deeper than random cruelty. In ‘Mesillat Yesharim,’ Path of the Upright, his famed book on ethical conduct, Rabbi Moses Luzzato writes that this was a measure to circumvent the possibility of rebellion. The Israelites would just be too busy to think and plan.

He goes on to say that the same principle applies in our own...

Person in the Parsha: Vayishlach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB 

“UNHERALDED HEROES”

You don’t hear much about them, and sometimes you don’t even know their names. But they are the true heroes and heroines in our lives and in our times. 

As I hope to demonstrate, it was also true in biblical times that very important characters in the narrative are hardly mentioned, perhaps only...

Off the Pulpit: The Secret of Memory

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Renowned historian Yosef Haim Yerushalmi once noted that the Jewish people were the first in history who saw memory as a religious obligation. In his aptly titled book “Zakhor” (“Remember”), he traced the ways in which Jews recorded and reconstructed the events of their history.

The more we learn about memory the more we realize it is not a tape recorder; indeed we do not even...

Person in the Parsha: Vayetzei

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“TEARS“

Many years ago, when I was studying for my doctorate in psychology, we had a number of fairly strict requirements in addition to our courses in psychology. For example, we were expected to possess a reading knowledge of two foreign languages, and Hebrew was then not one of them. We were also required to study statistics and to...

Off the Pulpit: The Secret of Memory

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Renowned historian Yosef Haim Yerushalmi once noted that the Jewish people were the first in history who saw memory as a religious obligation. In his aptly titled book Zakhor, “Remember,” he traced the ways in which Jews recorded and reconstructed the events of their history.

The more we learn about memory the more we realize it is not a tape recorder; indeed we do not even...

Person in the Parsha: Toldot

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“DIFFERENT FORMS OF POWER“

The professor was wrong. But in his field of expertise, he was always right.

His name was Dr. Dennis Wrong, and his surname made him the object of much teasing, at least during his childhood. He was a prominent sociologist, and I took a course from him while still in graduate school. The...

Off the Pulpit: Recognizing God

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

How did Abraham first come to God? The Torah does not say, although the Rabbis offer stories to explain.

One imagines that Abraham was like a man who spots a palace in flames. He cries out, “Is no one responsible for this palace?” From an upper window the owner peeks through to declare he is responsible. The palace has an owner.

Similarly, Abraham, seeing the world...