Commentaries

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 thoughts are...
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Off the Pulpit: Self-intoxiation

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Noah is often compared unfavorably to Abraham. When told the world would be destroyed, Noah did not protest. When told evil people in Sodom would be destroyed, Abraham sought to save them. The Torah says that Noah walked ‘with God.’ Abraham is told to walk ‘before...
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Off the Pulpit: Be the Parent You Needed

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

“As a mother comforts her child so will I comfort you (Is. 66:13).” Images of God as a mother and as a father do not only teach us something about God; they teach us something essential about ourselves.

There is no more important resource to create...
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Person in the Parsha: Vayera

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“HOSPITALITY BEFORE HEAVEN”

He was an old man, frail, tired, and bereaved. News of Hitler’s advancing army preoccupied him, and he was overwhelmed, if not broken, by the requests for advice he was receiving from hundreds of troubled Jews. Indeed, he may have...
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Harmonies

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

By 1815 Beethoven had avoided society for many months, yet he agreed to play his 27th sonata at the behest of Antoine and Therese Apponyi. The orientalist Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall records the scene in his memoirs. The Embassy was filled with eminences of the day: Goethe,...
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Person in the Parsha: Lech Lecha

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“WALKING WITH AND WALKING BEFORE”

When I was still a pulpit rabbi back in Baltimore, I would meet with a group of teenagers from time to time. The agenda was open-ended, and my goal was to encourage the group to share...
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Person in the Parsha: Noach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“EASY SPIRITUALITY“

The French poet Baudelaire once remarked that the devil’s greatest success is his ability to convince us that he does not exist.

Whereas Judaism does not believe in the devil quite as Baudelaire does, it does believe that...
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Off the Pulpit: Why a Messiah?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

What is the purpose of a Messiah? Let us remind ourselves again of an answer written in an era of intolerance and hatred, the middle ages, from a man whose family fled the Almohad persecutions in Spain and settled in Egypt:

“The sages and prophets...
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Off the Pulpit: A Yizkor Message

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

On Yizkor we gather to remember the ones we miss. The ones who knew our world. The one who grasped the corkscrew twists special to your own soul.

What we miss, and what we crave, is the intimacy that assures you in a world that spins no matter...
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Off the Pulpit: Hide and Seek

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Many of the high points of the Jewish tradition depend upon the end of concealment. In the Torah, God was long hidden from humanity until Abraham managed to see the world as filled with God’s presence. At Sinai, the notion of ‘revelation’ presupposes that before, there...
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