Episode 145: Rabbi David Wolpe

On the ultimate mystery, the balm of faith and the touching humanity we all share.

David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in LA. Rabbi Wolpe previously taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and UCLA.

A weekly columnist for the New York Jewish Week and weekly Torah columnist for the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Wolpe has been published and profiled in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Time, The Atlantic and many more. He has been featured on The Today Show, Face the Nation, ABC This Morning, and CBS This Morning.

In addition, Rabbi Wolpe has engaged in widely watched public debates with Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and many others about religion and its place in the world.

He is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller  Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times (Riverhead).

His new book David, the Divided Heart (Yale U Press). It was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards, and has been optioned for a movie by Warner Bros.

In this episode:

  • 1:30 Why Faith Matters, Rabbi’s book
  • 2:00 Rabbi’s thoughts on G-d as a child, and how that’s evolved
  • 6:00 From faith to doubt; faith as gift and choice
  • 9:00 On prayer. For closeness, intimacy with oneself, with faith, with practice
  • 12:00 Models of faith
  • 14:00 Heschel reading
  • 16:30 The Universe is asking us all a question; how you respond to that question determines the quality of your life
  • 17:30 Evolution: the Nature of human beings to the Spirit of human beings
  • 20:00 Doleket: Rabbi’s trip to Africa and the evidence of resilience
  • 24:00 How the human heart opens in the face of pain
  • 24:40 3 things that give life meaning: work, love and suffering
  • 27:30 Reading to our children and the impact of stories on creating meaning
  • 28:30 Modeling goodness for our children; kindness
  • 29:00 More on prayer, on the concept of G-d
  • 31:00 G-d cannot be expressed, G-d can only be addressed -Buber
  • 32:00 Rabbi’s conception of G-d: the G-d who is always available for human beings to encounter
  • 33:30 On religion and war; truly about resources, money or land – then religion gets added.
  • 35:00 the sometimes unnecessary stigma associated with religious fervor


“Why Faith Matters” (HarperCollins)
“David: The Divided Heart” (Yale U Press)

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