Musings

Into The Wild

06/15/2016 - 08:16

The three major chagim, holidays, of the Jewish year — Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot — all commemorate deeds that took place in the wilderness. They have agricultural significance as well, tying them to the land, but their origin reminds us that we were shaped by the desert.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Tending Our Garden, Together

06/08/2016 - 08:17

When I was a child we lived next door to a very evil woman. At least, that’s what my brothers and I believed. We knew she was evil because when a ball we were playing with sailed over the fence into her yard, she always refused to return it. She was apparently upset that balls from the neighbors’ kids kept landing, splat, right in the middle of her carefully cultivated garden.

David Wolpe

Fake It Till You Make It

06/01/2016 - 08:33

The mind does not obey itself. My arm will rise if I “tell” it to, but I cannot want what I think I should want. Shelves of self-help books promise to make us desire less junk food, exercise more, release ourselves from obsessive love for the wrong person, renew our affection for the “right” person. But still, we cannot seem to want what we want to want.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Divine Purpose

05/25/2016 - 08:21

In the Jewish tradition a desecration of God’s name is called a “chilul Hashem.” R. Chaim of Volozhin teaches that “chilul” comes from the word “hallal,” meaning empty or void. The greatest desecration of God’s name is to believe the world is meaningless, without purpose.

David Wolpe

The Low-Tech Child

05/18/2016 - 09:19

One of childhood’s great pleasures is to populate the world with imagination. It does not require elaborate equipment to engage a child. As the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi said, “Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything.”

David Wolpe

Mourning Light

05/11/2016 - 08:59

After the death of Aaron’s sons, God instructs Aaron on various rituals, including the atonement ritual on behalf of the people. There are three important lessons about grief in this juxtaposition.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Good Humor

05/04/2016 - 09:53

Humor is the balancing pole of the tightrope of life, and Jews have always used humor to remain upright. So, for example, the Talmud teaches that if a fledgling bird is found 50 cubits within a man’s property, it belongs to the owner of the property. If it is outside 50 cubits, it belongs to the person who finds it. A reasonable law, surely.

David Wolpe

Looking As Moses Did

04/27/2016 - 08:59

So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’

David Wolpe

Pour Out Your Wrath

04/20/2016 - 08:54

After drinking the third cup of wine at the seder, we open the door for Elijah and speak harsh words, asking God to pour out wrath on those who have devastated Jacob and laid waste to his dwellings.

Rabbi David Wolpe

All In One Meal

04/13/2016 - 08:34

You can find almost every important Jewish value in one ceremony, the Passover seder:

1. The story: The story of our people — biblical, rabbinic and beyond — retold through the generations, always with new interpretations.

Rabbi David Wolpe
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