Friday, January 21st 2022   |

Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: The Secret of Memory

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Renowned historian Yosef Haim Yerushalmi once noted that the Jewish people were the first in history who saw memory as a religious obligation. In his aptly titled book “Zakhor” (“Remember”), he traced the ways in which Jews recorded and reconstructed the events of their history.

The more we learn about memory the more we realize it is not a tape recorder; indeed we do not even...

Person in the Parsha: Vayetzei

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“TEARS“

Many years ago, when I was studying for my doctorate in psychology, we had a number of fairly strict requirements in addition to our courses in psychology. For example, we were expected to possess a reading knowledge of two foreign languages, and Hebrew was then not one of them. We were also required to study statistics and to...

Off the Pulpit: The Secret of Memory

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Renowned historian Yosef Haim Yerushalmi once noted that the Jewish people were the first in history who saw memory as a religious obligation. In his aptly titled book Zakhor, “Remember,” he traced the ways in which Jews recorded and reconstructed the events of their history.

The more we learn about memory the more we realize it is not a tape recorder; indeed we do not even...

Person in the Parsha: Toldot

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“DIFFERENT FORMS OF POWER“

The professor was wrong. But in his field of expertise, he was always right.

His name was Dr. Dennis Wrong, and his surname made him the object of much teasing, at least during his childhood. He was a prominent sociologist, and I took a course from him while still in graduate school. The...

Off the Pulpit: Recognizing God

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

How did Abraham first come to God? The Torah does not say, although the Rabbis offer stories to explain.

One imagines that Abraham was like a man who spots a palace in flames. He cries out, “Is no one responsible for this palace?” From an upper window the owner peeks through to declare he is responsible. The palace has an owner.

Similarly, Abraham, seeing the world...

Person in the Parsha: Chayei Sarah

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“MOURNING SARAH“

 Grief is the most powerful and most painful of human emotions. Yet, it is an emotion which few human beings can avoid in their lifetime. We all face loss, and we all grieve. 

Interestingly, the first death of which we read in detail in the Bible is a murder. And the reaction of the...

Off the Pulpit: Bring back the noise

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

For years we had a problem at morning minyan. There is a day school in the synagogue, which is a great blessing. The kids arrive around the time of the minyan, which is less of a blessing. People trying to pray would be distracted by a sudden onrush of noise – parents dropping off their children, children shouting to one another, and an occasional frantic student...

Person in the Parsha: Vayera

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS“

There was a coffee shop in the town in which I once lived. It was part of a national chain, so that all kinds of people gathered there for their morning coffee and doughnuts. This particular shop was under strict kosher supervision so that many from the Orthodox community and the nearby yeshiva frequented it as...

Off the Pulpit: A Tradition of Song

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

In synagogue we do something that people in society rarely do – we sing together.

Our greatest heroes composed shirim – the Hebrew word for Psalm and also for song. Moses sang, Miriam sang, and King David was the “sweet singer of Israel (2 Sam 23:1).” When the children of Israel cross the sea, they cry out “The Lord is my strength and my song (ex....

Person in the Parsha: Lech Lecha

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“ANCESTRAL DECISIONS“ 

Most people do not give much thought to their ancestral origins. But some do, and I am one of them. I often wonder about my grandparents and their grandparents. Who were they? What was their world like? 

Most of all, I wonder about the decisions that they made, and whether those decisions had...