Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Decisions Shape Destiny

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Why does the Torah so often tell the tales of siblings? From Cain and Abel, the Genesis stories and on to Moses and Aaron, we are being told something important about human nature.

Ultimately, our lives are shaped by our choices. Yes there are differences in...
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Person in the Parsha: TOLDOT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“WHAT MYSTERY PERVADES A WELL!”

One of the great benefits of visiting communities where I once lived and taught is the opportunity to meet people who were my students long ago. I enjoy reconnecting with them and am occasionally amazed...
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Off the Pulpit: A question of gutters

Italian writer Claudio Magris begins his magnificent work, “Danube” with a chapter called “A Question of Gutters.” Amidst his philosophical speculations and historical allusions, he reminds us that all of this great civilization would not exist without proper gutters. Metaphysics matters, but it falters without plumbing.

The Rabbis of the...
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Person in the Parsha: CHAYEI SARAH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“SARAH, ESTHER AND THE SLEEPY STUDENTS

Jews live their lives within the framework of the Jewish calendar. At this time of year, we identify strongly with the narratives contained in the weekly Torah portions that we read in the synagogue. Our...
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Person in the Parsha: VAYERA

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

DYSTOPIA

I never thought that I would begin a discussion of the weekly Torah portion by referring to a person who was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Never, that is, until I sat down to write this week’s Person in...
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Off the Pulpit: Poets, Martyrs, and Memory

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Identity is largely memory. When asked who we are, we respond with the past — I am someone who was born here, worked there, is tied to this family and community. A painful effect of Alzheimer’s is that in wiping out memory, it erases identity as...
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Person in the Parsha: LECH LECHA

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“ONE DAY WE WILL ALL BE TOGETHER“

I picked him up at the airport. He was arriving in Baltimore, where I was then a rabbi, to deliver an address and then return home to New York.

The plane was late,...
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Off the Pulpit: We Are Making Progress

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

 

That is why we should marvel at the tremendous progress human beings have made. Yes, we have a million problems, and Good is more laborious than bad. One wrecking ball can destroy a structure it took months to build; one driver can snarl traffic...
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Person in the Parsha: Noach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“NOAH’S VIRTUES“

Let us consider this scenario. You work for a company in which each employee has a detailed job description, which serves as the basis for his or her semi-annual evaluation. Promotions, bonuses, and raises all depend upon this evaluation.

...
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Person in the Parsha: Yom Kippur: Of Porgies, Flounder and the Whale

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

It was a magical summer, the kind that many of us experienced when we were very young and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I spent that summer, as I did most of my childhood summers, with my family in the Rockaways,...
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