Editorial & Opinion | Musings

05/21/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. | Musings

A poignant comment from historian John Lukacs in his book “A Thread of Years”:

“Of the many differences between the movie ‘Titanic’ and history, one in particular is telling. In the movie, as the ship is sinking the first-class passengers (all third-class human beings) scramble to climb into the small number of lifeboats. Only the determination of the hardy seamen — who use guns to keep the grasping men at bay — gets the women and children into the boats.

05/14/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. | Musings

Most of what we are — our intelligence, our drive, our lineage, our land — are gifts. We did not create them, and when we take pride in our abilities or inheritance, we are denying the true Source of blessing. A self-made man, as Mark Twain said, is as likely as a self-laid egg.

05/07/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles. | Musings

Each Yom Kippur we read about the martyrdom of Rabbi Hananiah Ben Teradyon. As he is wrapped in a scroll by Romans and set on fire, his students ask him, “What do you see?” His answer: “The parchment is burning but the letters are ascending to heaven.”

At that agonizing moment, Rabbi Hananiah had the comfort of knowing that his teachings would endure. He had anticipated by 2,000 years the wise words of William James, that “the great use of life is to spend it on something that outlasts it.”

04/30/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. | Musings

Right before World War II, the renowned Rabbi Morris Shapiro delivered this verdict on American Jewry — it has learned to make Kiddush, he said, but it has not yet learned how to make Havdalah. In other words, America understands the blessing over the wine, the blessing of abundance, but the blessing for the end of Shabbat, the blessing of limitation, of distinction, is not yet understood.

04/23/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. | Musings

Napoleon is reputed to have asked only one question in hiring an officer — “is he lucky?” While hard work and piety can do much good in this world, mazel is indispensable.

04/16/2008 | | Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. | Musings

On Passover children ask questions and parents provide the answers. At times parents must also learn to stop providing answers.

The mystical concept of tsimtsum posits God’s self-limitation in order to create the world. For anything else to come into being there had to be a space of not-God, a space available for creation to flourish.