David Wolpe

Along Together

04/09/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

Since we have destroyed the experience of solitude — the television hums, and you can chat with a hundred people online and believe you have a community — we are making it far too easy to be alone. It is now harder to risk the real friction of closeness and relationship. Why trouble yourself when you can have a smooth, deleteable friendship online with someone you need never really know?

Contemplate This!

04/02/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

In his essay on the great Jewish scholar, the Vilna Gaon, Louis Ginzburg wrote that the Gaon “declared it to be a religious duty and inviolable obligation of every person to fix a certain time of the day for reflection and meditation.” Ginzburg, himself a great scholar, and the Gaon agree: both insist there comes a time to put the books away.

Face To Face

03/26/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

God says to Moses: “You cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live” (Ex. 33:20). There is danger in God’s exaltedness; to presume to look upon the Divine is to court destruction.

Yet at the end of the Bible, we are told that Moses saw God “panim el panim” face to face. How can such an encounter be both possible and impossible?

Continual Confession

03/19/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Most Jews believe that Judaism encourages confession once a year on Yom Kippur. They are unaware of the confessional that is part of the daily service.

From Terezin To Sderot

03/12/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Hanging on the walls of my synagogue for the past two months is the art of the children from Sderot. There are crayon pictures of rockets trailing red fire blasting through roofs; stick-figure parents and children running for shelter; families huddled together in tears.

When We’re Gone

03/05/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Vladimir Nabokov opens his autobiography, “Speak Memory,” by recalling a scene in a home movie in which he saw his own family before his birth; his mother was pregnant and happy, but looking at his crib waiting for him, it had the “smug, encroaching air of a coffin.”

The world prepares for our entrance, and over the course of life prepares us for our exit. Things existed before we appeared and will continue after. Although we cannot know what awaits us, we do know our power to leave the world changed.

Generation Next

02/27/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Where is our generation in the march of history? Are we, as Spengler wrote, “men of early winter,” coming along toward the end of the human story? Is a child born now, in the title of Brian Morton’s wonderful, wistful novel, “Starting Out in the Evening?”

In ancient times the world was new, and in what we call modern times the world is old. That age has effects, and though we may remain ignorant of history we live with its consequences.

Seeing Is Believing

02/20/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

At Sinai the Bible relates that the Israelites “saw the voices” (Exodus 20:18). Why would it be important to emphasize that revelation was seen as well as heard?

Getting Outside Ourselves

02/13/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

The world is full of conflicting ideals. How does one see clearly through the tangle of ambitions? In the phrase of the splendid Irish writer Ken Bruen, must we always live with “a conscience full others’ dreams?”

Double Vision

02/06/2008
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

The Midrash teaches that God said to Moses, “You see with single vision, but I see with double vision.” God sees not only the Israel that will accept the Torah, but also the Israel that will build the golden calf.  Unlike God, Moses does not yet see both the merit and the failings of this newly freed nation.

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