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Rabbi David Wolpe
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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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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


December 2009
Do You Know Who You Are?
Retracing the Path
What You Cannot Prove is True
New Eyes
November 2009
Taking Out the Trash
Come Off the Mountain
A History of Love
Pretending to be Asleep
October 2009
Roles Greater Than Rules
Arguing With God
How to Be Human
What You Need to Live
September 2009
Return to Top
Shall We Praise the Darkness?
The Antidote to a Year of Scandals
Your Unfathomable Soul

Returning to the World

August 2009
On Not Being a Blockhead
No Kings at the Final Gate
Sudden Wonders
Learning to be a Fool
July 2009
Return to Top
Untie, Unlock, and Break
An Argument is Not a Fight
Who Needs the Tree?
Old and Grey and Full of Sleep
Surviving the Rebirth
June 2009
Where to Look
A Jewish Time Capsule
Lessons of the Quarterback
May 2009
Return to Top
In Memory of My Father
No Blueprints for Giraffes
For Love or Stuff
Our Hope is Not Yet Lost
April 2009
Two Passages
You’re Right, Too
What’s Your First Question?
Wise Is Not So Simple
March 2009
Return to Top
Was that Elijah?
The Secret of Success
Running for a Cure
A Spiritual Stimulus Package
February 2009
Forget Physics
Secret Goodness
A Train Ticket
So I Trust, Too
January 2009
Return to Top
Raising Good Adults
In Praise of Praise
Learning to Fly
Aural Assaults
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Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec
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