Secular liberal Jews have hijacked the term tikun olam (repairing the world) to promote agendas of secular social justice and environmentalism. Irrespective of the worthiness of these agendas, this is not the meaning nor the intention of the term tikun olam. The term comes from the Aleinu prayer which we recite three times a day, and is a central theme of Rosh Hashanah: לתקן עולם במלכודת שדי means to repair the world by its accepting the supremacy of Hashem’s Governance, a very different idea. As I experience the hours before Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem, breathing in the palpable atmosphere..
Almost exactly 24 years ago, a friend was driving my father z”l to the Los Angeles airport as he used to do regularly at the end of my father’s weekly trips. This was to be their last ride together. My father suffered a sudden heart attack only a day later and passed away. This ride was significant in other ways. My father made a comment in the car that was unusual for him and quite out of context. He told my friend that we would lose Israel for a very brief time before Mashiach came. I couldn’t understand or even relate to this comment at the time. Although 1991 was a turbulent year in the..
28 Iyar 5775 Rabbi David Lapin The world’s growing intolerance for a Jewish State – like anti-Semitism – is an emotional issue, not a rational one. Emotion cannot be countered with reason. Emotion can only be countered with emotion. I left Israel for the UK on June 4th, 1967, a day before the outbreak of the Six-Day War. Barely seventeen, I arrived there a few weeks earlier to start my Yeshiva career in Kefar Hassidim, a small agricultural village eight miles south-east of Haifa and less than 40 miles from the Syrian border. I recall speaking to a command..
Our times are dark not only for the Jewish people but for all of civilization as we know it. Light will prevail, but we shouldn’t rely on miracles. מתן אדם ירחיב לו (משלי יח) The generosity of an individual provides him with expansiveness (Proverbs 18). Vayikra 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2015 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:16 ____________________________ Our times are troubled. They call for innovative strategies to combat dark forces and villainous activity. But our times also call for a different response, one that has served us well for millennia. The Midrash below (Vay..
Will is the initiator and the energy that underpins a choice and powers its conversion to action. Terumah 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2015 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:15 _________________________________ Power is the way we experience energy. When electricity provides us with power, we experience its energy. We experience the energy of others when we feel the power of their personalities. When we experience G-d’s power in our lives, we feel His energy. The most potent energy we can experience is when we feel the power of another’s will. Simply, the term willpower, connotes ..
Our true enemy is not any other religion especially not a monotheistic one. Our true enemy is a harder one to combat for it has infiltrated into the core of our communities. Bo 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, What the Midrash Means Series - 1:14 _________________________________ The Charlie Hebdo cartoon making fun of Muhammad is nothing compared to Moshe’s attack on the Egyptian deity of his time. G-d instructs Moshe to publicly slaughter large numbers of lambs, the Egyptian god. He is instructed to do so for the very purpose of mocking Egyptian beliefs in the lamb’s supe..
The right to welcome in the new must be earned by the courage to challenge the old. Shemos 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2015 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:13 _________________________________ Context Notice a glaring omission in the Parsha: In setting up Moshe’s confrontation with the king of Egypt, Hashem clearly includes the zekeinim (elders) in the Jewish delegation (Shemot 3:18). However when the meeting actually happens, the zekeinim are conspicuously excluded from mention. There must be a relevant lesson in this, what is it? Our Midrash explores. Midrash ..
It is in the daily economic activity of earning a living that we come face-to-face with G-d and experience miracle first hand. Vayechi 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:12 _________________________________ Context Sometimes the parsha in which a Midrash appears forms its context. But at other times an event in ones life provides the context for understanding a Midrash. Often the event is fleeting or even trivial, until it is enriched by a flash of wisdom from a Midrash. This was the case this week when my eye was caught by an ..