Musings

Abundantly Clear

08/26/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

The miracles of the Bible are mostly survival miracles: water splitting so the Israelites can cross, manna dropping in the desert so they can eat, the sun stopping in its course so Joshua can win a battle. But there are also what we might call miracles of extravagance — Samson’s strength or Jacob’s striped sheep. These are not miracles designed to help human beings survive, but to help them thrive.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Join The Fight

08/19/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

Much of Judaism teaches acceptance. Who is happy? ask the Rabbis — one who is satisfied with what he has. Surely part of living a good life is to accept and appreciate.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Traveling Man

08/12/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

When I travel I try very hard to imagine my life in the next few days so that I know how to pack. I actually give more imaginative forethought to travel than I do to days when I’m at home. At home there is everything I need, and I don’t have to anticipate contingencies.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Rock Steady

Nothing can replace the certainty in a child’s life that her parents love her and are there for her.

08/05/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

When I was young my father told me a story about a boy and his father who were walking along a road. The boy spotted a large rock. “Do you think I can move that rock?” the boy asked his father. His father answered, “I’m sure you can, if you use all your strength.” The boy walked over to the rock and pushed and pushed, but the rock didn’t budge. “You were wrong,” he said. “I tried as hard as I could, and I failed.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

A Sense Of Space

07/29/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

Here is a remarkable passage from Aldous Huxley’s “The Devils of Loudun”: “a seventeenth century palace was totally without privacy. Architects had not yet invented the corridor. To get from one part of the building to another, one simply walked through a succession of other people’s rooms, in which literally anything might be going on.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Sages Are Whitmanesque

We all contain multitudes, according to the majority opinion.

07/22/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

We are taught in the Torah that one is supposed to leave a corner of one’s field unharvested for the poor (peah). The Rabbis in the Mishna ask the following question: What if a man who has fields at home is traveling and hungry; may he take from the peah (yes), and more interestingly, when he gets home, should he contribute to compensate for what he has taken?

Walt Whitman. Wikimedia Commons

Louis Armstrong: Horn Of Plenty

07/15/2015

Can a single gesture change a life? On New Year’s Eve 1913, a shot rang out. A boy was playing with a pistol, and he was taken by police and put into a house of correction, called The Colored Waifs Home for Boys.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Angels And Us

07/08/2015
Special to the Jewish Week

We gather around the Shabbat table, put our arms around one other and sing “Shalom Aleichem” — the song that greets the Shabbat angels. By the time we have finished the Shabbat song, three minutes later, we are concluding with “Tzaitchem L’shalom” — go in peace, already asking them to leave. The poor angels must wonder why we do not wish them to stick around!

Rabbi David Wolpe

Another Land To Cherish

Rabbi David Wolpe reflects on the blessings of America in his weekly column.

07/01/2015
Special to The Jewish Week

On July 4, we should once again recall our extraordinary good fortune.  For almost 20 years I have met once a week with Kirk Douglas to study Torah.  He is now 98 years old.  I once asked him in his remarkable life, what was his greatest blessing?  “No doubt about it,” he answered, “my greatest blessing is that my parents came to America.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

Stretching The Limits

06/24/2015
Special to the Jewish Week


Why do the five books of the Torah end with Israel still in the wilderness? The entire story points toward the Promised Land, yet Moses dies and the Israelites are outside the land.

One possibility is the Torah’s lesson that the land is both a reality and an ideal. In the book of Joshua, the Israelites enter the land and have to fight to establish themselves. In the wilderness, they will dream of the land and envision an ideal.

Rabbi David Wolpe
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