Author Archives: Elchanan Poupko

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko is a rabbi, writer, teacher, and blogger ( He lives with his wife in New York City.

Judah and Joseph as Paradigmatic Figures for Jewish Posterity

by R. Elchanan Poupko Introduction Although the book of Genesis is characterized with sibling rivalry and conflict (Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, and Jacob and Esau), the story of Joseph and his brothers is far wider in scope (Genesis, 37- 50, with few interruptions)  and ultimate significance. Additionally, unlike the previous aforementioned conflicts, all zero-sum conflicts, at the conclusion ...

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Born to Bentch: Judaism and Positive Psychology

by R. Elchanan Poupko One of the most important modern discoveries in the rapidly expanding field of Positive Psychology is recognition of the benefits of gratitude. Much evidence has shown the power of gratitude to make people happier, mentally stronger, and more appreciative of what they have. Research has shown that the simple activity of writing down five things for ...

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Monotheism, Abraham and Hurricane Sandy

R Elchanan Poupko / One transformative concept that monotheism has introduced into the world is the notion of kindness. While many members of earlier societies maintained favorable relationships with one another and even helped the weak among their own group (clan, people, co-believers), monotheism was the first to introduce an unrelenting, demanding and proactive kindness towards the “other.” No longer should one only demonstrate “protective kindness,” reserved only for members of the in-group. Monotheism set a new standard--the pursuit of kindness. It was only once monotheism entered the ball park that the individual was excepted not only to be complacent to acts of kindness but to pursue it; to go out of one’s way to help the other, the stranger, the wretched, the dispossessed.

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