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Rabbi David Wolpe
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Sinai Temple - 10400 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90024 Phone (310) 474-1518 Fax (310) 474-6801

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Off The Pulpit: Current NewsletterRabbi David Wolpe   "Ideal and Real"
by Rabbi David Wolpe

Why do the five books of the Torah end with Israel still in the wilderness? The entire story points toward the Promised Land, yet Moses dies and the Israelites are outside the land. 

One possibility is the Torah's lesson that the land is both a reality and an ideal. In the book of Joshua, the Israelites enter the land and have to fight to establish themselves. In the wilderness, they will dream of the land and envision an ideal. 

Robert Browning famously wrote: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" In other words, the ideal is what motivates us to stretch ourselves, especially if we know that we are trying to achieve something out of reach. We will always fall short; if we set great goals, however, in our falling short we can still achieve remarkable things. 

The Torah overestimated what the Jewish people could accomplish in the land. It would never be a perfect, peaceful place flowing with milk and honey. But only by presenting the ideal could they hope to make it a home worthy of the land God gave them. 

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December 2006
Different Kinds of Heroes
Everything Old is New Again
Is the Struggle Worth It
What You Feel Today
Why Do It
November 2006
Return to Top
Why Me
Why Worry
How to Treat the Sick
Two Kinds of Journey
October 2006
Who Knows the Future
Ancient Driving
Inhabitants of Many Worlds
Create Something Lasting
September 2006
Return to Top
We Are Many
Tell Me a Story
Your Own Spark
Spiritual Trajectory
What Does The Bible Mean
August 2006
Tradition of Silence
Alarm Bells
Don't Stop
Our Israel Trip A Different Sort Of Soldier
July 2006
Return to Top
On Not Just Sitting There
It Is Not Good
The Angels Surround You
The Breath Of Life
June 2006
Tolerating A Different Way
Hidden Miracles
Two Kinds Of Mitzvot
Can We Rejoice In The Success Of Others
Are You Good Within The City
May 2006
Return to Top
Learn To Edit
Stages Of Life
Three Sacred Places
Blessed With "All"
April 2006
The 614th Commandment
What If You Were An Egyptian
Do We Need To Open The Door
Don't Be Such An Angel
March 2006
Return to Top
Goodness Makes Us Glow
Idolatry and Artistry
The Possibilities of Partnership
Passion or Prudence
Proclaim Liberty To All
February 2006
Interpretation Is For The Birds
Baking Bread
What Is Your Spiritual Temperament
The Truth In A Million Little Pieces
January 2006
Return to Top
Better Than Not Bad
Spiritual Gold
What Is El Shaddai?
Freud's Best Prescription
2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec
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