Rabbi Wise’s Weekly Shabbat Message

  • Shabbat Vayelekh/Shuvah 5783
    While in our era, the rabbinic sermon is a regular part of Shabbat and holy day services, formal preaching in the synagogue was not so common in previous centuries. But Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, was a big day for preaching. In fact, the title given to the preacher on that Shabbat was “the ...
  • Shabbat Ki-Teitzei 5782
    There isn’t a person alive who didn’t aggravate his or her parents, at least a little. Some of us, or our children, may have even been a tad rebellious. Some may have exceeded the “a tad” part. But it remains jarring to me on an annual basis when we read Parshat Ki-Teitzei, to encounter the law ...
  • Shabbat Shofetim 5782
    Tzedek tzedek tirdof–“Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” Few verses are as familiar and frequently quoted as this one from this week’s Torah reading, Shofetim. Maybe it’s the doubling of the word tzedek that makes it even more memorable than other verses that invoke the word and the theme of justice.   So why is tzedek there in duplicate? My favorite explanation comes ...
  • Shabbat Re-eh/Rosh Hodesh 5782
    The Book of Deuteronomy is relentless in its demands that the Israelites, upon conquering the Promised Land, leave no trace of idolatry. This is a point of emphasis near the beginning of this week’s reading, Parshat Re-eh. After instructing them on the demolition of all idolatrous shrines, to the point that the names of foreign gods ...
  • Shabbat Ekev 5782
    One morning back in my JTS days, a group of students was finishing up breakfast after morning minyan, getting ready to head to our first class of the day. A faculty member, beloved for his authenticity as a serious scholar and religious thinker, walked over to our table and pointed to a JTS bentscher–the small booklet ...
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