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Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

Balak

"The Meaning of America" 

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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 2010
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Fastened to Flesh and Bone
Good Work
On Not Being a Blockhead
November 2010
Return to Top
Not Optimistic But Very Hopeful
The Knife and the Scalpel
October 2010
Return to Top
The Knife and the Scalpel
Acts of Love
Laughter
Back To Stone?
September 2010
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Life Giving Contradictions
Thinking About Death?
A High Holiday Story
The Watchtower
August 2010
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The Drive-By Sin
Why the Land of Israel?
I Am Honest
July 2010
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Be Dissatisfied
The Neverending Story
Guarding The Dream
Deep Questions
June 2010
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Transformational Teaching
RSVP
May 2010
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Wisdom is Easy.  Change is Hard.
Israel's Real Story
When NoOne is Watching
Slower is Better
April 2010
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The Top of the Tell
What You Get to Choose
Fixing Politics
Stand Up Straight
March 2010
Return to Top
What to Pray For
The Shape of Human Hearts
February 2010
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Animal Rights and Wrongs
Laughter Lasts Longer
Wearing the Mask of Truth
Their Stories Are Ours As Well
January 2010
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Yearning To Learn
Going It Alone
Condemning Others
Loving Far, Too
 
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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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