Musings

Moses Did Not Take A Selfie

02/25/2015
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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
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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

Limp, Skip, Fly

02/12/2015
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The Hebrew word “Pesach” denotes a holiday, and refers to the angel of death skipping over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. But the same word that means skipping also means “lame.” Hidden in that similarity is a deep lesson.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Choosing And Being Chosen

Perhaps no concept in Judaism has been more misunderstood than chosenness, Rabbi David Wolpe writes.

02/04/2015
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Perhaps no concept in Judaism has been more misused and misunderstood than chosenness. It is not a doctrine of racial superiority, though some have interpreted it as such. The first statement in the Torah about human beings is that all are created in the image of God and all have a common ancestry. The choice is one of service, not of being served. And it does not preclude the notion that other nations too are chosen for other tasks.

Rabbi David Wolpe

A Golden Thread Of Providence

01/28/2015
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History can change by very slim margins: Had Blucher been a little late to Waterloo or, as Pascal put it, had Cleopatra’s nose been longer, the world would have been different.

Rabbi David Wolpe

A Religion Of Optimism

01/21/2015
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The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer criticized Judaism for being an optimistic religion. One could make a case for Judaism’s pessimism based on a history of suffering, or even on certain verses from the Tanach, (e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:1: “The day of death is better than the day of birth”). Nonetheless, Schopenhauer was right. Judaism is, in the end, optimistic.

Rabbi David Wolpe

A Religion Of Optimism

01/21/2015
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The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer criticized Judaism for being an optimistic religion. One could make a case for Judaism’s pessimism based on a history of suffering, or even on certain verses from the Tanach, (e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:1: “The day of death is better than the day of birth”). Nonetheless, Schopenhauer was right. Judaism is, in the end, optimistic.

Rabbi David Wolpe

A Religion Of Optimism

01/21/2015
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The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer criticized Judaism for being an optimistic religion. One could make a case for Judaism’s pessimism based on a history of suffering, or even on certain verses from the Tanach, (e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:1: “The day of death is better than the day of birth”). Nonetheless, Schopenhauer was right. Judaism is, in the end, optimistic.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Want What You Have

01/14/2015
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In “How Much Land Does a Man Need?,” Tolstoy tells of a man who discovers that for a small fee, he can have as much land as he can walk around in a single day. Driven by greed, the man wakes early, walks so far that he cannot get back to his starting point, and in the end dies of a heart attack brought on by the effort. He is buried in a six-foot plot of land, thus ironically answering the title’s question.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Judaism Is Elementary

01/07/2015
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I am a great fan of mystery novels. I have read more than I can count, along with books about the history of the genre, and have many favorites. Part of the joy is that mysteries both illuminate extremes of human character and satisfy our craving for justice, usually with a clever puzzle thrown in. From Poe’s Dupin, often reckoned the first fictional detective, through Holmes and the golden age of Bentley, Christie and up to Rex Stout, P.D. James, Connolly and Jo Nesbo today, the detective usually represents, however imperfectly, the thirst for what is right.

Rabbi David Wolpe
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