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..


Bo 5772: Opportunity's "Sell-By" Date

by in Bo .

The theme of chameitz, (the leavened bread and other substances prohibited during Pesach) is prominent in our current parshios. In addition to leavened bread the word chameitz, orchometz also means vinegar, a substance that, like wine, is forbidden to a Nazzir (Bamidbar 6:3). Both usages of the wordchameitz describe a food product developed by a fermentation process. It is also interesting that during this fermentation process, if the process were stopped earlier a different product would result. In the case of bread, matza results from stoppin..


Lech Lecha 5773: Shattering Paradigms

by in Lech Lecha .

The visions of our tomorrows are limited by the paradigms of our yesterdays. To be able to see this vision we need to shatter some paradigms first. Movement Before saving Noach from global disaster, the Torah informs us what about him earned that right to special treatment; he was righteous and perfect in his generation. But when Lech Lecha, the parshaabout the life and times of Avraham, opens, we are not told why Hashem singles him out and directs him to leave his place of birth. The Ramban (Bereishis 12:3) makes this observation, and the SeffasEmmes (Lech..


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