Monthly Archives: March, 2016

Why is my cheating spouse is doing great?

March 31st, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

Why when one is faithful in a marriage and is betrayed it seems like they are punished by the break up of the family and losses. The cheater goes on and looks successful.
 
How to move forward?

∼ Karen

Answer:

Dear Karen,

We are so sorry for what sounds like a tremendously difficult time you are going through. You are right that a sad feature of reality is that in this world the wrongdoer often seems to do better than the wronged. In Drivers Ed., they used to tell us that in a car crash caused by a drunken driver, the drunk is often less injured than his victims since his body doesn’t tense up at seeing the accident is imminent.

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Pick Two, Any Two

March 30th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 14 comments

William F. Buckley famously said, “I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” Perhaps it is time for a variation on that, along the lines of, “I am obliged to confess I should sooner vote in a presidential election  between two random people in the Hereford, TX telephone directory than in a contest between anyone running for the office today.” Hereford, TX, by the way, recently was declared the most conservative city in the USA.

I am thoroughly sick of this election cycle. Of the four top candidates, Clinton, Sanders, Cruz and Trump, I actually find Sander’s campaign the most appealing. Notwithstanding that, I can’t vote for him because his policies and beliefs will destroy this country. I don’t think I need to explain my objections to Hillary or Donald and to my great dismay, Ted Cruz’s campaign has diminished him in my eyes. I would love to see him as the next Supreme Court Justice and I will probably vote for him in my state’s upcoming primary, but I think that too many times the way he is campaigning is foolish or demeaning. Should a brokered convention declare Kasich or Romney or Jeb Bush or Ryan as the Republican nominee, that might actually lead me to officially change my voter registration to independent or Libertarian. 

What’s a girl to do? 

This country’s descent into immorality and poverty is accelerating rapidly. Europe’s terrorist eruption will not stay contained and in fact we have had more than one taste of it here. Judge Scalia’s death severely diminishes the group of upright, intelligent and wise leaders our country has. I will continue to support individual candidates and to speak out, because we each have to do that. 

Yet, in the final analysis, the truth of the words from Psalms: “Do not rely on noblemen or on a human for he holds no salvation,” (Psalms 146) is hitting us in the face with stark clarity. While that is clearly the truth and the real source for peace of mind, it is late at night and I’m sure things will look brighter in the morning.

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Don’t Eliminate the Department of Education

March 24th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 8 comments

As most of us know, it is easier for people in the audience to quickly come up with brilliant responses than it is for the person being interviewed or the candidate up on the debate stage. I’ve never been a contestant on Jeopardy or any other game show, but my guess is that, not infrequently, some contestants miss out on answers they would have known were they watching the show in the comfort of their living rooms. In other words, being a great back-seat-driver is easier than actually driving. 

Having admitted that, I have done a fair bit of cringing at the words of Republican candidates I admire. To be fair, most interviews and many Republican debates are staged by a media hoping to make conservative candidates sound foolish or evil, preferably both. The questions are phrased and the time allotted to help achieve that result. Knowing that, the candidates need to prepare ways to get around the handicap. 

One recent example that resonates with me is several candidates’ calls to eliminate the Department of Education as an example of where budgets can be slashed. You know and I know that scads of money is given to education in this country with pathetic results. The system is designed to enrich a few top echelon bureaucrats and pander to political bases, not to care for children. You and I know that thousands of parents try to get their children into charter school slots that are severely limited. You and I know that political correctness, union rules and other policies protect and promote criminal and incompetent teachers while penalizing those who could unlock students’ minds and help them to achieve greatness. Yet, even for those parents desperate to get their children out of failing schools there is a disconnect between their desperation and political parties. When they hear calls to eliminate the Department of Education, they believe that means ignoring, not helping, their children. The phrase without explanation is toxic. With explanations and vivid, heart-rending examples of children trapped in dangerous places and the prison of illiteracy, it could truly improve the lives of many and the health of our nation. 

Eliminating the Department of Education in order to save money is easily seen in the public’s mind as an act of cold, ice-blooded indifference to the lives of young children, particularly minorities. In reality, it could be the greatest gift this generation’s poor and underprivileged children could get. Same action; different word picture. I’m not up on the stage, I’m just a back-seat-driver. Nevertheless, someone in the driver’s seat needs to study the map before getting behind the wheel.

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Am I poor because of where I live?

March 24th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have watched you on several youtube videos and just began reading your book, Thou Shall Prosper. I struggle with the belief that we are limited in being prosperous because we live in a rural community. 

I don’t think you mean that we won’t be prosperous but I would like you to elaborate more on that.

Bless you,

∼ Holly

Answer:

Dear Holly,

You have heard us say that cities are more conducive to producing wealth than rural areas and we appreciate the opportunity to expand on this idea.

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Stomp On Those Eggs

March 23rd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“Darzee (the tailor bird) was a feather-brained little fellow who could never hold more than one idea at a time in his head. And just because he knew that Nagaina’s (the cobra) children were born in eggs like his own, he didn’t think at first that it was fair to kill them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew that cobra’s eggs meant young cobras later on.” – (Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling)

This wonderful children’s short story by the great Anglo-Indian writer, Rudyard Kipling, teaches a vital lesson that today’s children never learn and few of their parents know. Cobra eggs turn into cobras, and snakes eat baby birds and kill people. Rikki Tikki Tavi, the brave young mongoose knows this lesson and destroys cobra eggs wherever he finds them.

It is a lesson that today’s public policy experts and contemporary political leaders would do well to learn and until they do, they ought to kneel before victims of terror begging forgiveness for their foolishness. Their fond illusion that all cultures are identical has cost countless lives. Their insistence that evil is found only in racism, intolerance and xenophobia condemns countless terror victims to death.   The way the world really works is that some evil is just so hideous that it must be wiped out.   It can’t be cured with money neither will multi-cultural educational programs achieve anything. Some people have become so evil that rehabilitation is all but impossible. (more…)

The Road Not Taken

March 17th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

If you like to talk to tomatoes; if a squash can make you smile

If you like to waltz with potatoes, up and down the produce aisle

Broccoli, celery, got to be VeggieTales! 🎵 🎵 🎵

If you can’t put the music to that jingle, then you probably also do not know Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. No, these are not nicknames of notorious Vegas mobsters. They are actually two of the cast of popular characters that includes Petunia Rhubarb, created by the fertile minds of Phil Vischer and his team during the 1990s when they started the VeggieTales production company. If you know none of this, clearly you were not raising Biblically-committed Christian kids back then. By the way, the Lapin family, along with many of their Orthodox Jewish friends were as enthusiastic fans as were their Christian playmates. (more…)

Redeeming Hitler

March 16th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 23 comments

When I was a child, one popular TV show was Hogan’s Heroes, a comedy depicting American prisoners of war in Nazi Germany. I found the show deeply offensive. By portraying the Nazis as comical buffoons who were easy to outwit, I felt that the show insulted the millions who suffered and were murdered by the Nazis. Many of the TV Nazis were actually more likable than feared, a rewriting of history that makes the Holocaust not such a big deal. The show denigrated American GIs who, unlike their TV counterparts, did not live pleasant lives when captured. (I know that some World War II vets loved the show–a reaction I still don’t understand.) The movie, The Great Escape, respected and honored the POW experience. Hogan’s Heroes trivialized it. 

Hogan's Heroes

The rampant comparisons of Donald Trump with Hitler do not demean Trump. Instead, they redeem Hitler. They also identify those who cast the aspersions as ideologues. When I first heard the accusation of a Heil Hitler salute being requested at Trump rallies, I looked at the accompanying picture. I saw people waving or holding their hands as if to take an oath.  I have my doubts about Trump but you are living in an alternate universe of Trump hatred if that looks like a Hitler salute to you. Since Hitler (unlike the murderous Stalin) is still pretty much universally reviled in America, referencing the Nazi in the hopes of smearing an opponent is a fine gutter tactic. It’s rather funny how those who (with reason) accuse Trump of gutter tactics seems oblivious when they themselves use them. 

One reason that Donald Trump is popular is his refusal to cringe when certain accusations are thrown at him. Charges of racism, anti-Semitism, etc., long ago became meaningless. Instead, by attributing hatred in order to achieve political ends, a practice in which President Obama excels, a retroactive boy who cried wolf scenario is before us. True evil has become indistinguishable from the buffoonery of Hogan’s Heroes’ Colonel Klink. Hitler is on the road to redemption. 

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Is God just?

March 16th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have a friend in his mid 50’s who has come to Christianity in the last 12 years, He has a hard time resolving how God treated certain people groups in the Five Books of Moses and the Prophets Bible that were destroyed or killed by God’s command.I have tried talking to him about the sovereignty of God and the Protection of God’s people, but he still struggles with it.

He believes God was unjust. A new perspective from you would help greatly. 

Thanks,

∼ Robert W.

Answer:

Dear Robert,

Why go so far back? Isn’t it unjust when a baby is born with a painful disability or when some are born into free and wealthy countries while others are born to areas where repression and starvation threaten? We understand that your friend might try to distinguish between God commanding that the enemies of Israel be killed and innocent children suffering and dying.  However, there really is not much of a difference is there? Nothing happens without His say so.  After all, for an omnipotent God, commanding something very visibly is not that much different from invisibly directing that a particular child should suffer. Is your friend fine with what he sees around him today?

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Nancy, Hillary, Michelle and Zebras

March 10th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

Despite huge advances in technology, medical students are still taught Dr. Theodore Woodward’s 1940’s aphorism, “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras.” As a University of Maryland professor, his point was to look for the most plausible diagnosis first rather than casting around for exotic answers. In other words, when I can’t find my keys it is much more likely that I carelessly put them down than that a miscreant came into my apartment and, leaving everything else untouched, took them.

This saying came to mind when I read an article trying to explain why the advanced age of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was not an issue this election season. This is in sharp contrast to the positive focus on Obama’s youth and how it appealed to younger voters in 2008 and 2012. Of course, two younger men, Cruz and Rubio, are running in the Republican race. 

Raise your hand if the first explanation that comes to your mind is that the media shills for liberalism. In other words, if the Democrat front-runners were young and the Republican front-runners were older, we’d be reading plenty of articles questioning the appeal of (white) older candidates. However, right now, mentioning Donald Trump’s age cannot be done without the obvious comparison to Clinton and Sanders. Of the three older candidates, Hillary’s health history seems to raise the most questions. Not surprisingly, the issue is off the table.

I read a Wall Street Journal article questioning why the age of the candidates isn’t being discussed. Amazingly, the partisan explanation I just posited wasn’t even mentioned. Instead, three reasons were advanced: The vigor of the candidates, new science showing that chronological age isn’t a predictor of vitality and the multitude of aging Baby Boomers. In other words, think zebras not horses. 

A day after this article ran, Nancy Reagan died. The words charming and elegant were oft-repeated by reporters and politicians. Bernie Sanders said she had, “a good heart.” I don’t remember those accolades filling the press when her husband was president. Instead we heard accusations of spending too much money on dishes for the White House, although the money was raised from private parties.  Somehow, taxpayer money being spent by Michelle Obama on staffing and Marie Antoinette style vacations isn’t newsworthy. Obviously, one would have to be racist to bring that up. I remember talk of Nancy Reagan’s enjoyment of astrology and suggestions that the occult was influencing the Reagan White House. The press saw that as fair game. Yet when Hillary Clinton was castigated for working in secret on public health policy, the only explanation liberals could hear for conservative angst was discomfort with powerful women. 

CNN ran an amazing program after last Thursday’s Democrat debate. It analyzed the Kennedy-Nixon race of 1960. The program was incredibly honest about dirty tricks that the Kennedy family and staff pulled to get the Democratic nomination away from Hubert Humphrey, such as disseminating anti-Catholic material and claiming that it came from Humphrey’s campaign. The program also highlighted the outright fraud in Illinois that possibly clinched the election for Kennedy. In a connection I had not previously made, they linked Nixon’s decision not to contest the election to his acquiescence in Watergate. Rewriting the past is always intriguing, but had he contested the election, history would certainly be different and perhaps JFK would have, like Nancy Reagan, lived to a venerable old age. 

Democrats don’t corner the market on corrupt behavior, but the press, Hollywood and academia definitely shine a brighter, and often distorted light, on Republicans. Romney, the gentleman loser, was unforgivably unprepared for the vitriol, accusations and unfairness of the attacks against him. He functioned in a rational and fair world where hoofbeats suggest horses. No candidate who makes the same glaring error can succeed. 

Nancy_Reagan

 

 

 

Does Genesis justify abortion?

March 10th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

Kermit Gosnell (abortionist covictied of murder) justifies abortion using Genesis 2:7. (Adam became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.) He claims that a baby does not become a living soul until it takes its first breath of air.
 
Please tell me that God’s language and Ancient Jewish Wisdom refute that notion.

∼ Darryl B.

Answer:

 Dear Darryl,

We are a bit tired and assume you are too of people who cherry pick through the Bible to support their own views. If you followed the view you mention, you would have to conclude that animals are not alive since God never breathed the breath of life into them. Somehow, I feel that Gosnell would not justify gratuitous and random killing of animals based on the idea that they are no more alive than carrots.

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