Musings

The World’s New Year

09/03/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

We read the paper and learn of deprivation we will never see with our own eyes. It is hard enough to help a neighbor; how can we imagine helping people in other lands, who speak a different language and live in a foreign culture?

Rabbi David Wolpe

New Songs For A New Year

08/26/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When asked how he could slight astrology when the Talmud endorses it, Maimonides responded, “Because human beings are created with their eyes in front, not in back.” 

Rabbi David Wolpe

We Shall Overcome

08/20/2013 - 20:00

In this month of Elul, when we prepare for Rosh HaShanah, we are reminded that our highest destiny is to face life’s pains and prevail, over and over again. Stamina, not giftedness, is the most precious attribute of character. Resilience is the strain of spiritual DNA that distinguishes those who build lives of purpose and beauty.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Tending Your Sheep

08/12/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When God wishes to choose leaders, the Rabbis teach, God looks to see how they tend sheep. Jacob, Moses and David were all shepherds. This rabbinic teaching reminds us how important it is to be kind to those whom we do not need. But let’s take it more literally: how nice are you to sheep?

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Meaning Of Kaddish

08/05/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

The Kaddish may be the best-known Jewish prayer and yet its purpose is mysterious. Though it is the mourning prayer, it makes no mention of death. Rather what it proclaims is the greatness and sanctity of God and God’s name.

Rabbi David Wolpe

How We Treat One Another

07/29/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

My teacher Simon Greenberg once explained the great innovation of the Ten Commandments. He explained that the first four are the justification for the last six. In other words, he told us, the Ten Commandments introduced the world to the idea that God cares most how we treat one another.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Flaws That Beguile

07/23/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In his classic history of art, Ernest Gombrich offers a powerful insight into life while discussing Botticelli’s famous “Birth of Venus.” Botticelli deliberately misproportioned Venus, and Gombrich notes that the figure emerging from the half shell is more beautiful for her flaws: “the unnatural length of her neck, the steepfall of her shoulders...” The painter’s Venus is less correctly drawn than his predecessors, but his alterations “enhance the impression of an infinitely tender and delicate being.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Road To Ruins

07/16/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Ruins are a catalyst to imagination. When we see the remains of an old building or civilization we can imagine what once stood in that place. Should you travel this summer, notice the inspiration of lost splendor. Gaps and flaws and remnants are the spur to vision.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The Company You Keep

07/09/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Recent studies on college roommates suggest that our cognitive styles — whether we face adversity with optimism or despair — are not fixed. After only three months roommates influence each other: the resilient ones change the approach of the pessimists, and vice versa. Once more the ancient wisdom is reaffirmed: we are not only known, but shaped, by the company we keep.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Feeling Another’s Pain

07/02/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In high school we read “Black Like Me,” an account of how John Howard Griffin, a reporter, had his skin artificially darkened so he might better understand the predicament of blacks in the South in the late 1950s. Can we understand another if we have not been in his position? Does a member of a ruling caste understand the humiliations of the oppressed, or does someone who has lived in difficulties understand the seductions and possibilities of wealth or power?

David Wolpe
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