Commentaries

Off the Pulpit: What is holiness?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

The Hebrew word for holiness is kadosh, which also means separate. In some sense the realm of the holy is the realm set apart – the Sabbath that is kadosh from the week, or the couple bound in kiddushin, the rites of marriage, sharing a unique...
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Person in the Parsha: Emor

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER

A LIFE OR SANCTIFICATION

The conditions under which we live are many and varied. Some of us live in very comfortable, even idyllic, surroundings. Others struggle with diverse hardships, including poverty, disease, and the conditions of war. Our people have known unspeakably...
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Off the Pulpit: The right to be enchanted

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

A sharp statement that I believe was made by the children’s writer Joan Aiken: “Anyone who does not read to their children doesn’t deserve to have them.”

She may be overstating the point, but not by much. One of the most beautiful and binding experience one can...
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Person in the Parsha: Kedoshim

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

I GET NO RESPECT!

I love visiting residences for senior citizens. For one thing, being around truly older people invariably helps me feel young by comparison.

Recently, I was a weekend guest scholar at such a residence. I dispensed with my...
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Person in the Parsha: Achrei Mot

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

NO EXIT

There is much that the Torah leaves to our imagination. Regular students of the weekly Torah portion soon become convinced that the narratives they read each week are deliberately abbreviated, as if to encourage us to fill in the missing links...
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Off the Pulpit: When the Messiah comes

Elijah is the prophet who will announce the coming of the Messiah in Jewish teaching.

In the Bible, Elijah does not die – he is carried off to heaven in a chariot – and so the tradition expected his return. We anticipate Elijah’s arrival most eagerly at certain times: at...
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Person in the Parsha: Pesach

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

IMAGINE THAT!

There was a time when I would only go out of my way to listen to speakers who were older and more experienced than I. Recently, however, I have changed my preferences and have begun to seek out speakers, rabbis...
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Off the Pulpit: Invisible Work

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

While traveling in Southeast Asia I learned that certain cultures refer to housework as “invisible work” because if it is done you cannot see it. Only if it is undone do you realize it is needed.

Entropy operates in our daily lives. Left alone, my house will get...
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Person in the Parsha: Metzora

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

MISERLY MANNER

I no longer remember the name of my ninth-grade teacher of English literature. But I do remember well one of his important lessons. He taught us that there are many great works of literature that are misunderstood. These are...
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Off the Pulpit: Is that clear?

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Every intellectual or academic discipline has its apostles of obscurity. There are novels which cannot be read without a teacher or a guidebook. Much modern poetry defeats the most resolute attempt to unravel its enigmas. And even when pundits try to make things clear, we often...
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