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10400 Wilshire Blvd.   Los Angeles, CA. 90024   Phone (310) 474-1518   Fax (310) 474-6801

 

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Download Past Off The Pulpit newsletters below:
Writings By Year: 2015 -  2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005
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  • Current Writing
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  • January

Off The Pulpit: Current NewsletterRabbi David Wolpe   "Short!"
by Rabbi David Wolpe


Mark Twain wrote of his experience in church: "I couldn't wait for him to get through. I had four hundred dollars 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." 
 
Kol Hamosif Goreah we say in Hebrew — all who add, subtract. The notion that the level of conviction rises with the number of words is contradicted by the Gettysburg Address and the Ten Commandments. Too much is just too much. 
 
For close to 25 years I've sent 200 words weekly to the NY Jewish Week. Sometimes the cuts I made bothered me, but mostly they were improvements. And people often read them to the end, in an age when Twitter begins to seem long winded. 
 
There are definite virtues to length; some books, movies and speeches benefit from complications of plot, from the luxuriance of symbols and nuance. But for the most part, be blunt, be brief — be gone. 

pdf filedownload here

pdfShort!

Mark Twain wrote of his experience in church: "I couldn't wait for him to get through. I had four hundred dollars 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." 

  ...click here to read more


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pdfMoses Did Not Take a Selife

When Moses came down from Sinai, the Torah teaches, "He did not know that his face was aglow (Ex. 34:29)." 

This is one of the most inspiring verses in the Torah, awaiting our age to reveal its full depth. Today the slightest sliver of charisma is noted, celebrated and selfied. We are all acutely conscious of our gifts, and encouraged not only to exercise them, but to trumpet their existence to the world. If our faces were glowing, it would be on twitter before the veil lowered.  

  ...click here to read more


pdfMartin Gilbert, in Memoriam

Martin Gilbert, who recently passed away, 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.

  ...click here to read more


pdfLimp, Skip, Fly

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. 

  ...click here to read more


 

 

 

 

 

January

 

pdfAstonishing Endurance

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. 

  ...click here to read more


pdfIs Judaism Optimistic?

The philosopher 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.

  ...click here to read more


pdfHow Much $$$ Do You Need?

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. 

  ...click here to read more


 

pdfWatching the Detectives

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, PD James, Connolly and Jo Nesbo today, the detective usually represents, however imperfectly, the thirst for what is right. 

...click here to read more


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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torah This Week's Torah Portion: Pesach
candle lighting Friday Night Candle Lighting: 6:58 pm
havdalah 7:59 pm (42 min): Saturday, April 4th, 2015
holiday Upcoming Holiday: Erev Pesach is on Friday, April 3rd, 2015
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