תיפסה (Tefisah) • Perception

Rabbi David Wirtschafter's Blog

Money, Memory, and Motive: The Daughters of Zelophehad and Our Moment of Truth

It is poetic justice that this week, which has witnessed the first woman to be nominated for the presidency by a major party, corresponds to the week when we read … Continue reading

August 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

Redemption and Refuge: A Passover Prayer in Response to the Refugee Crisis

  As we gather around our Seder table we feel both gratitude and grief. We are grateful for family and friendship, liberty and love. We grieve, however, for the loved … Continue reading

April 24, 2016 · Leave a comment

Purple Blues

You may think it strange for a rabbi to mourn a celebrity’s death, but no one said emotions are rational. There are millions of refugees, millions of people living in … Continue reading

April 24, 2016 · Leave a comment

Look Before Labeling: The Levitical Emphasis on Examination

We moderns like to think of ourselves as highly rational people who put forethought into what we do and say. Of course, this self-perception isn’t always necessarily borne out by … Continue reading

April 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Honor System and The Realm of the Self

Reflecting on Parasha Tazria – Leviticus 12-13 The principal character of the cable television show “Six Feet Under” regularly finds himself in conversation with his late father, who is tragically … Continue reading

April 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Prayer for the People of Brussels

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Brussels in the wake of today’s terrorist attacks. To the families and friends of those who were murdered we send … Continue reading

March 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

Silence and Speech: Esther’s Estimation of When to Use Her Words

It is poetic and proper that we gather for this Hadassah service on the Sabbath preceding Purim. The Scroll of Esther, which we read each year on this holiday, is … Continue reading

March 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

Embodiment of Betrayal: The Apostasy of The Golden Calf and Renewed Assault on Reproductive Rights

The National Council of Jewish Women, URJ, Reform Action Center, and Women of Reform Judaism are part of an interfaith coalition, headed by the Religious Institute, which has selected this … Continue reading

February 27, 2016 · Leave a comment

Visions of Vashti: The Other Heroine of the Megillah

During Shana’s pregnancies, with both Zachariah and Emanuelle, we sometimes busied ourselves with the name game. My favorite name in this game was Vashti. Can you imagine a name more pregnant … Continue reading

February 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Mystery of Eternity

You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring pure oil…to cause a lamp to burn continually….from evening to morning before Adonai , it shall be a law forever … Continue reading

February 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Warm Welcome to Our New Friends

After several months of waiting, the family we are helping to resettle from the Congo is finally here. We need not call them “our refugee family” anymore, (although admittedly it … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Malignant Myth: Confronting the Presumption of Timely Progress

In his 1965 commencement address at Oberlin College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., confronted his listeners with these words of warning: “Let nobody give you the impression that the problem … Continue reading

January 15, 2016 · Leave a comment

Plagued: Pharaoh’s Addiction to Absolute Power

The Ten Plagues that befall the people of Egypt provide us with disturbing questions about the cost of radical change and the problem of collective punishment. Starting with this week’s … Continue reading

January 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

Call the Midwife: The Hebrew Midwives and Our Obligations to One Another

  A D’var Torah for Parashat Shemot •  January 1, 2016 The playwright George Bernard Shaw is often credited with saying, “England and America are two countries divided by a … Continue reading

January 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

“Who Knew Not Joseph”

The Book of Exodus that we begin again this week opens with the ominous words: “There arose a king who knew not Joseph.” How is that even possible? Nobody taught … Continue reading

January 1, 2016 · Leave a comment