Rabbi Daniel Gropper

Rabbi Daniel Gropper

Rabbi Daniel Gropper is the spiritual leader of Community Synagogue of Rye in Rye, N.Y., where he has served since 2003.  He is the immediate past president of the Westchester Board of Rabbis, serves on the executive committee of Repair the World, and is a founding member of the Rye Interfaith Clergy Association.

Pharaoh’s Final Request

D'Var Torah By: Beth Kalisch

In the middle of the night, in Parashat Bo, Pharaoh and his whole court wake up to the horror of the 10 th plague: as the firstborn sons are slain, every Egyptian household is suddenly in mourning. Under the weight of this tragedy, the king who fancies himself a god is finally humbled. In desperation, he gives in to Moses' demands of freedom for the Israelite slaves. Pharaoh declares, "Up, depart from among my people, you and the Israelites with you! Go, worship the Eternal as you said!" (Exodus 12:31). But at the end of this middle-of-night surrender, as Moses must have already been heading out the door, Pharaoh tags on a surprising request. " Uveirach'tem gam oti," he calls after Moses, "and may you bring a blessing upon me also!" (Exodus 12:32). I'd often read this line as a bit of a throwaway, hardly worthy of consideration, but when I stopped to think about it, Pharaoh's request seemed incredibly galling. What chutzpah for a tyrant who had until this point been mocking Moses and refusing God's demands, to suddenly ask for a blessing! For the entire narrative in Exodus so far, Pharaoh has refused to acknowledge God's power. And now, in the moment when he finally does humble himself before God, he wants to benefit from God's power to receive a blessing. Even as Pharaoh finally acknowledges the limits of his own power, he still unabashedly focuses on himself. Traditional commentators interpret Pharaoh's request in several different ways. Rashi, the 11 th century French commentator, thinks Pharaoh is being cynically practical. What Pharaoh means, Rashi suggests, is that Moses should ask his God not to let Pharaoh die – because Pharaoh himself is a firstborn son. Because the 10 th plague threatens his own life, Pharaoh is suddenly ready to seek God's blessing. Nachmanides, the 13 th century Spanish sage, reads Pharaoh's words slightly more generously, arguing that Pharaoh is seeking a blessing not just for himself, but for the entire kingdom of Egypt.

Those Who Can, Teach

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Daniel Gropper

Focal Point Now Moshe said to the Children of Israel: See, YHWH has called by name Betzalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Yehuda, he has filled him with the spirit of God in practical-wisdom, in discernment and in knowledge, and in all kinds of workmanship

Prayer for Campers

Rabbi Daniel Gropper
May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah bless all of these campers as they go off to summer camp.