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Rabbi David Wolpe

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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:  2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005
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  • Current Writing
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Off The Pulpit: Current NewsletterRabbi David Wolpe   "A Parenting Lesson"
by Rabbi David Wolpe

When Adam and Eve are fashioned in the Garden of Eden, the Torah makes an important editorial comment: "Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife." My best guess is that comment was to pacify parents. 
 
You raise a child. You feed that child, care for him or her, stay up late, get up early, worry, nurture and then one day, the child comes home with a stranger and says "Meet so and so, the most important person in my life." It is unsurprising that some parents feel hurt, even betrayed. Yet, that transition is inevitable and healthy. The Torah is teaching us that we raise children to love others, and letting go is part of love. 
 
When Eve hands Adam the fruit and he eats it, Adam and Eve are enacting the very same drama. They have turned away from God and toward one another. It is a painful and decisive moment. But without that moment there is no venture into the world, and it is only when Adam and Eve leave Eden that they conceive and have a child. Good parents raise children to love good partners. So it has ever been.  

 

Rabbi Wolpe's Picks: Charismatic Leaders, False Messiahs

 

pdf filedownload here

pdfA Parenting Lesson

When Adam and Eve are fashioned in the Garden of Eden, the Torah makes an important editorial comment: "Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife." My best guess is that comment was to pacify parents.

  ...click here to read more


pdfChoice, Fate, and Faith

The great Greek playwright Aeschylus tells us that Prometheus gave the world two gifts — fire and ignorance of our own fate. In other words, an uncertain future, and the power to shape it; both light and darkness.

  ...click here to read more


pdf"Is That What You're Wearing?"

One of the greatest pleasures of Shabbat is disapproving of what other people wear. So please, permit me the pleasure. The Talmud comments that honoring the Sabbath mandates that one's dress not be the same as on weekdays. In the Torah Rebecca helped Jacob impersonate his brother not only by putting hair on Jacob's arms, but by dressing him in Esau's clothes. Rabbi Naphtali of Rushpitz's explanation is that Rebecca understood that dressing like Esau would allow Jacob to feel more like Esau, because what we wear effects who we are.

  ...click here to read more


pdfAre You Really Sure?

The human mind inclines toward certainty. Having been involved in my share of arguments, beginning with the childhood dinner table (an excellent place to learn both the skills of debate and the fine art of going only slightly too far), I know that arguing is mostly a process of persuading oneself that one was right in the first place. Who has not heard scientists extol the certainties of scientific knowledge, religious people astonishingly secure in their understanding of God, and all of us pronounce others "simply wrong" with no more prompting or expertise than the skill of thumping a fist and nodding a head?

  ...click here to read more


pdfParadox, Pompey, and the Female Mosquito

The ancient historian Tacitus recounts that when Jerusalem was conquered and the Roman general Pompey walked into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he found it empty. Surely this perplexed the future Emperor. Uniquely among ancient civilizations, there was no image or picture of God in the Temple. Pompey probably did not know it, but he was witnessing Judaism’s greatest counterintuitive gift to the world.

  ...click here to read more


pdfParadox, Pompey, and the Female Mosquito

The ancient historian Tacitus recounts that when Jerusalem was conquered and the Roman general Pompey walked into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he found it empty. Surely this perplexed the future Emperor. Uniquely among ancient civilizations, there was no image or picture of God in the Temple. Pompey probably did not know it, but he was witnessing Judaism’s greatest counterintuitive gift to the world.

  ...click here to read more


pdfTorah: To Elevate Or Denigrate?

"Jerusalem was destroyed" teaches the Talmud, "because judgments were rendered strictly upon the law of the Torah." In other words, the quality of mercy was missing from the courts of the day. Untempered by humility and humanity, the law is destructive.

  ...click here to read more


pdf5 Books For Everyone to Read

I'm often asked to recommend books. Here 5 unique and powerful modern works that you may have missed or forgotten. These works will enrich, elevate and educate any Jew, indeed, any human being. 

  ...click here to read more


pdfGive it Away!

Rabbi Tarfon was very rich. One day Rabbi Akiva met him and said "My master, shall I purchase for you a town or two?" "Yes" said Rabbi Tarfon, and immediately gave Rabbi Akiva 4,000 gold dinars. Akiva distributed the money to poor scholars. 

  ...click here to read more


pdfIdolatry

Idolatry is alluring. An idol is something one can touch and feel and is made with human hands. Although idols in antiquity traditionally represented forces beyond themselves, they were still the visible, tangible symbols to which people clung and to which they prayed.

  ...click here to read more


 

 

 

 

 

January

pdfBaseball and Memory

When I was nine my father took me from Harrisburg to Baltimore for my first live baseball game. The Orioles won, 6-2 (I remember that Elston Howard hit a home run for the Yankees.) We drove back home and I slept the entire way, shocked and muddled when we pulled up in front of the house. 

  ...click here to read more


pdfThe Masterpiece of Sorrow

The book of Job is sunk in sorrow. It tells the troubling story of a man tested by every misfortune, including the egregious speeches of his friends, who manages nonetheless to keep faith. Job refuses to turn away from the God who has turned away from him. 

  ...click here to read more


 

pdfNo Knowing God

Our ideas of God are expressed through metaphors. Since we cannot begin to know what God is, we try to imagine what God is like — a King, a rock, a father, a fortress, a protector. As we expand our images so we expand our conception of God. 
 
When we read in Isaiah, "As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you" (66:13) it presents a different God than the usual imagery. It is the same God, of course, but our minds and souls embrace a larger idea. 

...click here to read more


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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