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Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

Ki Teitzei

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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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Download Past Off The Pulpit newsletters below.

 

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Writings By Year: 2015 -  2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec

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December 2007
Sparks in the Darkness
Do not Mock our Dreamers
Why Place Stones on Graves?
When First We Practice to Deceive
November 2007
Please Don't Forget
Two Jews, Three Opinions
The First Bad Thing
Do I Have to Listen to the Sermon?
A Spiritual Moment
What Shall We Do With The Child?
October 2007
Return to Top
What Stirs the Soul
Paradox of Growth
Against Forgetting
Piety at the University?
September 2007
Return to Top
Don't Worry - Be Happy?
Hearts and Ladders
Listening to Silence
August 2007
Everyday Miracles
Gazing on Tyrants with a Dazzled Eye
Feel Bad About Yourself
The Castle is Ablaze
Families and Magic
July 2007
Return to Top
Taking off the Veil
Past and Future Together
Relearning the Lesson
The Joys of Unworldliness
June 2007
Who is a Tabula Rasa?
Whole Clothes and Torn Hearts
Forty Years On We Remain Thankful
May 2007
Return to Top
Bearing the Burden
Love and Life
The Hardest Moment
April 2007
I'm Spiritual, but I'm not Religious
Where Are the Miracles?
The Most Astounding Statement
Contracts and Covenants
March 2007
Return to Top
Off the Pulpit Special Edition: "Atheism du Jour"
Why Matzah?
Take Your Time
Can We 'Prove' Our Faith?
Are You Really Free?
A Prayer Must Both Mean, and Be
February 2007
Letting Our Children Fail
Can You Prove There Is a God?
The Perils of Leadership
Should We Ever Doubt God's Justice?
January 2007
Return to Top
Saving a Life
Looking into the Face of the Other
Being a Messiah
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2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec
 
 
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