Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Is that clear?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Every intellectual or academic discipline has its apostles of obscurity. There are novels which cannot be read without a teacher or a guidebook. Much modern poetry defeats the most resolute attempt to unravel its enigmas. And even when pundits try to make things clear, we often...
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Off the Pulpit: Who is God?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When you were two years old could you imagine what it was to be an adult? Not only could you not imagine it, but you didn’t understand what it was that you could not imagine. In the Jewish tradition, the distance between Divine and human...
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Person in the Parsha: Tazria

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

MY EARLIEST MEMORY

Have you ever been asked the question, “What is your earliest memory?”

I have been asked that question many times. There was a time, long ago, when I was a graduate student in psychology, when that question...
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Person in the Parsha: Shemini

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“AND AARON WAS SILENT“

He was an old man, and in many ways came from a very different world than I. And yet he taught me more than anyone else ever did. One of the things he taught me was that...
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Off the Pulpit: How old are you?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When the famed writer Isaac Bashevis Singer reached the age of sixty, he told his friend he knew he would live to 120. “How can you be so sure?” his friend asked. “Because” explained Singer, “when I went for my checkup my doctor told me I...
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Off the Pulpit: Purim message – No more masks!

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Purim is a holiday of masks. A mask doesn’t fully change you, but it obscures identity, distorting who you are. A mask permits you to assume a slightly different way of being in the world. The boy who dresses as Mordechai can act old and wise, but...
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Person in the Parsha: Tzav

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

INCREASING GRATITUDE

 

There are certain phrases or expressions that many of us find hard to say. “I love you” is one of them. Another such phrase is “thank you”.

Although these words are difficult for us to pronounce, they...
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Off the Pulpit: An Ancient Right To Privacy

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In an internet age, there is a great deal of discussion about the right to privacy.

The Torah already contains a provision for privacy – a creditor may not enter a debtor’s home even to fetch what is due to him (Deut. 24:10-11). The prohibition on entering...
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Off the Pulpit: A Sage on Freedom of Speech

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

One of the characteristics of great sages is that they rise above their times and express truths despite the prevailing climate of opposing opinion. The following was written in the 16th century:

“Even if his words are spoken and directed against faith and religion, do not...
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Person in the Parsha: Zachor

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

AN ENEMY ON MANY FRONTS

Three very different individuals inspired me to write this week’s column. One was a newspaper editor who “dared” to censor a sentence in one of my submissions. The other was a very wise sage whose pre-Purim lecture I...
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