Commentaries

Rosh Hashanah is how we prove our humanity. Are you ready?

By RABBI DAVID BASHEVKIN 

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of mankind. But if Rosh Hashanah is indeed the collective birthday of humanity, why do we “celebrate” with all our focus on God, sin and repentance?  The Rosh Hashanah liturgy is filled with references of God’s kingship as humanity...
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Person in the Parsha: Nitzavim

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“THIS SEASON’S LEITMOTIF: RETURN!”

We have all been brought up to believe in the importance of progress. For the past several centuries, the goal of philosophy, religion, culture, and certainly science has been to develop ideas and practices which advance humankind...
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Off the Pulpit: Ignorance and Wisdom

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In 1913, British novelist E.C. Bentley wrote a mystery called “Trent’s Last Case.” It became a classic not only for the sparkling writing, but because the detective observes meticulously, reasons brilliantly – and comes to the exact wrong conclusion. It is a marvelous lesson in intellectual...
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Person in the Parsha: Ki Tavo

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS”

It was the kind of thing you would hear from old men. “Things just ain’t the way they used to be.” “This new generation is going to hell in a handbasket.” “I remember when things were different and...
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Off the Pulpit: Courts of Love

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In medieval England and France, there were courts of love. They legislated on questions regarding love, passed sentence on lovers who were in the wrong, and generally tried to establish a system of jurisprudence to keep love disputes from the regular courts.

Charles the IV established...
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Person in the Parsha: Ki Tetzei

THE RICH FRUITS OF FORGIVENESS

The spirit of forgiveness is in the air.

Since the beginning of this month, the month of Elul, Sephardic communities have been reciting selichot, prayers petitioning the Almighty for his forgiveness. They have been doing so each and every day, rising before dawn...
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Off the Pulpit: The emotions of Elul

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

This week began the month of Elul, a time of introspection and self-appraisal. These are not entirely the same tasks. Introspection helps us understand our own motivations, thoughts, and emotions. Self-appraisal is concerned with our actions and how they affect other people.

These are naturally intertwined,...
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Person in the Parsha: Shoftim

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

ANARCHY OR UPTOPIA?

Who would you consult if you wanted to know a thing or two about the perfect society? Would you ask a politician? A professor of government? A philosopher expert in theories of utopia? Or perhaps a historian familiar with successful...
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Off the Pulpit: Wide as the world

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Many years ago at Hebrew University I studied with the renowned Israeli philosopher Eliezer Schweid. During a bus ride we took together, he talked about my plans of becoming a Rabbi and explained why the challenge to Judaism was different in the modern world.

Prof. Schweid...
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Person in the Parsha: Re’eh

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

THE THIEF OF BLESSING

I am sure that you, dear reader, have had the occasion to come across a book which you simply could not put down. Something so fascinating, so gripping, that you were compelled to read it cover to cover in...
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