Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: Bo

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

TELL ME A STORY

Since back in early autumn, when we began reading the Book of Genesis in the synagogue, we have been reading one long story. It has been a very dramatic story, extending over many centuries. It began with the creation...
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Off the Pulpit: Redeeming One Another?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When I was a teenager, two strangers came to our home. They were Russian, and I learned that they visited to thank my parents, who had helped them escape from the Soviet Union. I have since learned many stories of Jews who helped other Jews, risked...
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Person in the Parsha: Va’era

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WORK AND WILL

There was a time in my life when I was fascinated by the works of the great psychoanalytic thinkers. Chief among them, of course, was Sigmund Freud, whose attitude towards his Jewish origins piqued my curiosity.

Although Freud’s work has...
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Off the Pulpit: Dinner Table Topic?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

For years I have been asking students of various ages if they ever had a discussion about God around the dinner table. Once the smiles abate, I ask why not. The reasons are usually the same: everyone has different opinions; nobody really knows; what is there...
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Person in the Parsha: Shemot

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

SPIRITUAL TIME MANAGEMENT

The two old men couldn’t have been more different from each other. Yet they both taught me the identical life lesson.

The first, a cagey old Irishman, was one of my mentors in the postgraduate psychotherapy training program in which...
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Off the Pulpit: Enough!

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When the brothers meet, Esau tells Jacob “I have much.” Jacob responds by saying “I have enough” (lit. I have everything.)

The scholar and ethicist Meir Tamari calls this “the economics of enough.” We always want more; as Koheleth teaches, “the eye never has enough of...
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Person in the Parsha: Vayechi

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

EACH ONE IS ONE OF A KIND

I was very embarrassed by her sharp rebuke. But looking back, I realize that the lesson I learned from her brief criticism was more valuable than most of my other training experiences.

It happened about 40...
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Off the Pulpit: A New Year of Prayer

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Those who are new to traditional Jewish prayer often hear it as a parade of gibberish. There are moments when the congregation sings together but then it is like boxers retreating to their corners, each becoming newly occupied with his or her own stream of chants...
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Person in the Parsha: Vayigash

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

WAGONS, CALVES AND RESPONSIBILITY

I have been blessed with many fine teachers. She was one of the best.

Her name was Mrs. Lachmann. I no longer recall her first name. She taught an advanced course in world literature at the college I attended,...
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Off the Pulpit: An Eye for Beauty

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

There are many different ways to understand beauty, of course, and Judaism often speaks of character attributes as beautiful. Yet despite the caution in Proverbs that beauty is vain, physical splendor too is acknowledged and prized in the tradition: Berachot 58b teaches us to offer a...
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