Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: Tu B’Av

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Tonight begins Tu B’av, the Jewish holiday that celebrates love. I am in Venice, Italy for a conference and will be chairing a discussion of love in the modern world. There are many sorts of love: familial, friendship, even love of those things we cannot possess...
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Person in the Parsha: Devarim

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

THE PATH TO ELOQUENCE

It is an experience common to all freshmen. One comes to a new campus, knows no one, and tries to orient himself by identifying the senior students who seem to have prestige. Then, he tries to connect...
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Person in the Parsha: Va’etchanan (Shabbat Nachamu)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“A SABBATH OF CONSOLATION”

I was very fortunate as a young boy, and in one particular way I knew it. Very few of my friends had living grandparents. Their families had recently arrived in America, and their grandparents remained behind in...
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Off the Pulpit: Peace or discontent?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

There are powerful competing ideologies of religious meaning, one promoting acceptance and the other, discontent. Are we supposed to accept the world, be at peace with its foibles and tragedies, or are we to fight always against the world, to seek to make it better and not...
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Off the Pulpit: Normal Mystics

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The rabbinic scholar Max Kadushin came up with a marvelous title for the Rabbis of the Talmud. He called them “Normal Mystics.”

Mystics throughout history have seen visions denied to the rest of humanity. Many retreat from the world to mountaintops or forests in order to...
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Off the Pulpit: Effortful Eloquence

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When God calls to Moses at the burning bush, Moses protests that he cannot go to Pharaoh because he has a speech impediment. If the Torah were a children’s fairy tale book, God would have simply cured Moses of his impediment, and sent him to Pharaoh.

...
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Off the Pulpit: Broken Whole Hearts

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

When someone suffers the loss of a person whom they love, there is always a certain wonder and even resentment that the world seems not to notice. The heavens do not open, the sun still shines, and most people go about their business as if...
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Person in the Parsha: Pinchas

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“BEWARE: WE CAN GET USED TO ANYTHING”

My wife’s maternal grandmother was a wise old woman. She was raised in the Old City of Jerusalem, where she accumulated her wisdom from her Yiddish-speaking family and the diverse Jerusalemites who lived all...
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Person in the Parsha: Balak

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

BAD MAN. CAN’T BE A GOOD PROPHET!

There is no doubt. People are hard to figure out....
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Off the Pulpit: Two Strikes, You’re In!

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Some people never tire of beating themselves up. It is a distressing sight – their self-blame is immediate, overwhelming, and destructive. Others, by contrast, never beat themselves up. Their sense of self-worth is invulnerable, and no matter how badly they may misstep or even hurt others,...
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