Musings

Learning And Legacy

04/22/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Readers of the Gilgamesh epic are often struck by its similarity to the Bible story. There is a man created from earth who loses paradise, who accepts food from a woman, who is clothed after nakedness, a massive flood, a perfidious snake and much more. Gilgamesh tells of a quest for immortality, and in that quest we see an important distinction.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Real Business Of Synagogue

04/15/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Once Rabbi Lev Yitzchak of Bereditchev went to the marketplace in the middle of a busy weekday. There he stood and proclaimed lessons from the Torah. One of the men in the market said, “Rabbi, with all due respect, we are trying to conduct business here.” “I’m sorry,” replied the Bereditchever. “I just thought that since you always talk business in the synagogue, I could talk Torah in the marketplace.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

Fully Free

04/08/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Why is the Torah compared by our sages to a marriage contract, to a ketubah? 

One might suppose that they both limit freedom. Each constrains what a person may do, imposing obligations and restricting choices. But to see it this way is to misunderstand freedom. Freedom is the expansion of opportunity not the absence of obligation.

Rabbi David Wolpe

It’s A Classic

04/01/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

In high school I approached a well-known rabbi and told him that I had read one of his books and liked it very much. “Ah, have you read my other book?” he asked. No, I had not. “You should,” he told me, “it’s a classic.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Torah’s Practical Bent

03/25/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Judaism may seem abstract, but the things that keep it alive are very concrete. If you cannot pay for food and clothes, for the lights and the rooms, the desks and the books, the ideas have nowhere to take root. This deep truth is expressed in a powerful story about Rabbi Hiyya.

Tell The Story

03/18/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Jews venerate memory. So important is memory to Jews that one characterization of God in our prayers is “Zochair kol Hanishkachot” — the one who remembers everything forgotten. To be God is to have the gift of perfect memory.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Prayer-Study Link

03/11/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Prayer is supposed to inspire us with the beauty of its language and the grandeur of its conception. In each morning service there is a passage called “The Thirteen Exegetical (or, hermeneutical) rules of Rabbi Ishmael.” If prayer is supposed to be uplifting, one can only wonder why such dry material would be included. Here is a sample of one of the rules: “The particular implied in the general and excepted from it for pedagogic purposes elucidates the general as well as the particular.” It hardly sets the spirit aflutter.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Short Of It

03/04/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Mark Twain wrote of his experience in church: “I couldn’t wait for him to get through. I had $400 in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But he didn’t pass the plate, and it grew hotter and we grew sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down, down — $100 at a time, till finally when the plate came round I stole 10 cents out of it.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

Moses Did Not Take A Selfie

02/25/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

When Moses came down from Sinai, the Torah teaches, “He did not know that his face was aglow” [Exodus 34:29].

Rabbi David Wolpe

Remembering Martin Gilbert

02/18/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Martin Gilbert, who recently died, completed the official biography of Winston Churchill and wrote many other books on Jewish, general and British history. But he was also an extraordinary mensch. I experienced his kindness myself.

Rabbi David Wolpe
Syndicate content