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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 2008
Kids Today
The World’s Most Humble Man
The Angel’s Blessing
Knowing What’s Best
Returning Home
November 2008
Return to Top
God's Gift or Our Own?
Fleeing From God
A Childhood Snapshot
The Story of a Fateful Vote
October 2008
Fate and Faith
Socrates and Abraham
Hakarat Hatov
Failing Better
Coming Down the Mountain
September 2008
Return to Top
Restoring Wholeness
Why Faith Matters
Come Back Soon
Judging People by Potential
August 2008
When Will the Messiah Come?
Don’t Cry Out Loud
The Indispensable Community
Beast and Human
July 2008
Return to Top
A Shattering Statement
Anguish and Art
Who Needs a Messiah?
Safe in Hebrew
Cellphones and Torah
June 2008
Joy to the World
Tied to One Another
Both Sides Now
Children of the Wilderness
May 2008
Return to Top
Our Wider Purpose
Titanic Difference
I'm So Proud of Me
Fads and Forever
Abundance and Limitations
April 2008
In Need of Mazel?
Passover and Parenting
Screens and Solitude
Stop — For God's Sake
March 2008
Return to Top
Face to Face
Sinning Every Day?
The Testimony of Children
Before and After
February 2008
Starting out in the Evening
What You See and What You Hear
Come with Us for Israel’s Sake
Good Fortune
January 2008
Return to Top
A Path for Life
Double Vision
If I Were a Rich Man
Getting Your Facts Straight
Arrogance and Imperfections
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