Monthly Archives: March, 2007

“Man of God?” No, I don’t think so, thank you.

March 16th, 2007 Posted by Thought Tools 5 comments

“Everyone needs a rabbi!” is the self-serving slogan with which I open my favorite three hours of the week every Sunday afternoon on KSFO. It still delights me how callers of every persuasion announce to me ‘You’re my rabbi.” Do they know that a rabbi doesn’t necessarily mean someone serving a congregation? He is someone with a little familiarity of Scripture and sources of ancient Jewish wisdom, that’s all. Some rabbis serve conventional congregations as I did for fifteen years in Southern California while others work at all kinds of occupations; some are even lucky enough to work as radio talk show hosts.

Let me tell you this: I am not a “man of God.” Tell you the truth, I don’t even know what that term means. I am a child of God…just as you are. When people say “man of God” I suspect they usually mean some sort of other-worldly guy who spends all his time contemplating heavenly questions. Perhaps eating only bread and water, and those only when absolutely necessary. Boy, that is so not me. I like my steaks, cigars, and chocolate milk-shakes. And that only covers my tummy appetites.

I believe that the good Lord created us to live somewhere between the two extremes of grabbing absolutely everything our bodies yearn for and utterly rejecting those delightful pleasures. It is harder to live between two extremes. That is why many people use the term ‘extremist’ as an insult. I think they are on to something. It is just plain easier to be an extremist than to be a middle-ist.

Let me give you an example: For folks with a bit of an alcohol problem, it is far easier to avoid alcohol entirely. That occasional glass of wine with dinner could spell doom. It is actually easier to have no alcohol at all than to confine oneself to just an occasional sip. Needless to say, it is also easier to become a wino. Keeping to that middle ground of enjoying the pleasures of life but neither being overwhelmed by them nor rejecting them altogether is the trick.

The point is that God created us as body and soul. Not only body, as many hedonists mistakenly suppose. And also not only as soul as believed by folks who reject the world in a gesture of mistaken piety. The challenge of being a child of God is not to move to either extreme. Too much body and we fall off the cliff of self-destruction. Too much soul, and we lose touch with the reality of who we are and what we are meant to become. See you Sunday afternoon!

March 11th, 2007 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

There are several ways in which people communicate with me. Some call in to my radio show on Sundays (415) 808-5600 at KSFO San Francisco, while others email me from either www.rabbidaniellapin.com or from www.towardtradition.org Either way, I do get the email, read it all, and respond to about 25% even if the response is very brief. Below is an example of a letter that arrived today which I answered. Between working on the newest volume of Genesis Journeys (Call Him Ishmael:Decoding the Secrets of Islam’s War on the West) and my other writing, there is limited time particularly since I greatly enjoy whatever time with my family I can have. The second volume of Genesis Journeys, The Gathering Storm-Decoding the Secrets of Noah will be available on the website very soon…probably within a couple of weeks. Anyway, back to this question I was just asked below….interesting that just this morning, the New York Times (why I read it is the subject of another story) published a front page story about couples who sleep in separate bedrooms! Very interesting. The point is that the couples who do have separate sleeping quarters are, on some level, uncomfortable about it. I am not saying there is anything terrible with the idea as I’d say about shall we say, a bi-coastal marriage or a marriage in which the partners live in different cities and see one another every weekend or every second weekend. That would be a real question mark for me. However, this story describes a way couples adapt to some of the stresses of modern life particularly with two spouses working out of the home. Still, most couples doing this, feel the need to explain it. My point is that deep down, we all know that marriage means being together. It is not merely a socio economic classification. I have to go now, my wife is calling….
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Dear John,
An honor to hear from you. No, that is not a correct translation.
One of the next volumes in my audio series Genesis Journeys (www.rabbidaniellapin.com) is entitled Madam I’m Adam–Decoding the Secrets of Eden in which I explain in detail. Suffice for now to say that the Hebrew means not rib or penis but ‘side’…God took the female side of Adam and formed it into a separate being, Eve. He originally made them united in order to teach the lesson forever that marriage is like no other relationship…..my sister is my sister even if she lives on another continent…my mother and father are my parents no matter how much geography divides us, but my wife and I must be close in proximity.

More later…

Sincerely

Rabbi Daniel Lapin


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Dear Rabbi Lapin

I was listening to Native America Calling recently. A woman on the program stated that a Rabbi said to her that in Genesis where “G_d” took a rib from Adam was a wrong translation.

She said the Rabbi told her it was from his penis that Eve came.

Please tell me if that is a true translation.

John