Coming of Age - Accepting that which cannot be changed and turning it to advantage is the most important key to happiness and success. (Toldot 5775)

by in Toldot .

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:6 Something strange has been happening to me. It’s been going on for a few years but I only identified it now: More and more people seem to be ready to accept the things I say with a quality of acquiescence that is new to me. I prepare heavily before I present a workshop to a client, a speech to an audience, a shiur to students, or even suggest a potentially unpopular idea to a grandchild. I prepare to make sure that the other will understand my thoughts, accept them and integrate them. I think of intellectual proofs and co..

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Art in Service (Chayei-Sarah, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Chayei Sarah .

Service requires that one is singularly dedicated to the people one serves and that even ones own self-interests are subordinated to theirs. © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:5 Avraham instructs Eliezer, his chief-of-staff and foremost disciple, to go to Harran and find among Avraham’s family there, a prospective wife for Yitzchak (Bereishit 24). Eliezer asks his master what he should do in the event the girl he finds does not wish to emigrate from her homeland, in this case would he allow Yitzchak to go and live with her family in Harran? Avraham answers i..


Courage in Hardship: Meaninglessness makes suffering harder. There is courage to be gained from finding meaning in hardship (Vayeira, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Vayeira .

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:4   Bad things happen to good people We’ll never fully understand why things that seem so bad happen to people who seem so good. Still, there is courage to be gained from understanding the meaning of suffering and finding purpose in hardship. To help in the quest for meaning, the Midrash offers a framework using three metaphors to explain the verse in Tehillim 11:5 “Hashem tests tazaddikkim whereas His soul despises those who are wicked and who love corruption.” “1) Rabbi Yonattan explains: a potter checking his po..


Audacious Challenge: It was Hashem’s choice to hide Himself in the creation of a world of invisible divinity. (Lech Lecha, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Lech Lecha .

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:3   ”Far be it from You to do something like this; to indiscriminately kill the righteous with the wicked… the judge of all the world will not do justice?…” (Bereishit 18:25). Rabbi Levi says: Avraham challenged Hashem:– If you want a world (olam) there cannot be justice; if it is justice you want, there cannot be a world. Why do You hold the rope at both its ends? You want to have both a world and justice! Give up one of them and if you don’t, the world cannot exist. –Bereishit Rabbah 39:6 Rabbi Levi turns Avraham’..

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Ethical Relativity: Admire people not by how much they have, but by how much they have created (Noach, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Noach .

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:2 Noach was a righteous man in his times, but, says Rabbi Yehudah, had he lived in the times of (ethical and spiritual giants like) Moshe and Shemuel he would not have been considered righteous at all. Rabbi Nechemia says: If he was considered a righteous man in his times, how much more righteous would he have been considered in the times of Moshe or Shmuel. – Bereishit Rabbah 30:9 Environment unquestionably contributes to a person’s stature or lack thereof. This principle is acknowledged explicitly in Chazzal[1] many tim..


Beautiful Sin: A revolutionary approach to Sin and the opportunity it creates. Bereishit 5775

by in Midrash Series 5775, Breishit .

Six ideas were created before the world was created…..Rabbi Ahava berebi Ze’eira says Teshuva (repentance) also (was created before the word was created). – Bereishit Rabbah 1:4   In his two word comment buried in the middle of a paragraph of Midrash, R Ahava berebi Ze’eira revolutionizes the idea of cheit (sin). Teshuva is an end in itself; it is not just a means of accomplishing atonement for sin. Sin was created after teshuva, as a means to activate the teshuva process. Teshuva, says Rabbi Ahava, is not the consequence of having committed a sin. Rather sin was created as a way..

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Parshat Shmini 5768: New Age Spirituality and Reb Elya’s Mussar

by in Shmini, Reb Elya Lopian .

New Age Spirituality and Reb Elya's Mussar  "Happiness is not about how much you have, but about how little you miss." Mindful Observance of Mitzvot Would you daven three times a day (assuming you are a man) if there were no chiyuv (obligation) or reward for davening? Whichmitzvot would you continue to keep consistently if they were voluntary and there was no reward for doing them nor negative consequence for not keeping them? Think about it carefully and consider asking your children too. I recently put this question to a group of bnei To..


Reflections on Reb Elya Lopian z''tzl

by in Reb Elya Lopian .

Reb Elya Lopian z”tzl Ish Ha’Elokim Personal Recollections of Rabbi David Lapin Adar, 5768 A few months ago I was enjoying an informal breakfast with a few outstanding young Roshei Yeshiva and other Talmidei Chachamim. They were quizzing me about what my great uncle, Reb Elya Lopian z”tzl, was really like as a person. I have been blessed with Torah giants as mentors, and in a way Reb Elya was one of them. Reb Elya was not only the Rebbe and mentor of my father z”tzl (who was my primary Rebbe), but I too had the privilege of learning directly from him, observing him from close quar..


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