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Monthly Archives: October, 2016

Is This Why American Airlines and Fedex Lost Aircraft This Past Friday?

October 30th, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 9 comments

An American Airlines airplane aborted a take-off from Chicago’s O’Hare,  just in time, thank God, when one of its engines exploded and caught fire this past Friday.  A few hours later, a Fedex-owned aircraft caught fire at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida.  Were these both cases of negligence by maintenance crew?  With modern airplanes equipped with the latest jet engines, this is the most likely explanation. The precipitous decline in America’s morality naturally does mean more people lackadaisical about their jobs and indifferent to their responsibilities. This means more mail deliverers dumping their mail, more vendors supplying sub-standard products, and more maintenance personnel who don’t care about the airplane on which they work. Is it also possible that maintenance is being placed in the hands of people who hate America?  When a society’s morality plummets, it is time to get scared. Very scared.

Moral in the Eye of the Beholder

October 27th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 10 comments

Sometimes, living in today’s world can make one dizzier than a sped up roller coaster. A few times recently, newspaper articles starkly contrasted with one  another.

A short while ago, Gene Klein wrote a thoughtful article for the Wall Street Journal explaining why 94 year old Oskar Gröning, who was a paper-pusher at Auschwitz, correctly received a prison sentence despite his age and the comparative non-violence of his position in the concentration camp. Mr. Klein ended his piece with these words, “It is necessary that Mr. Gröning be punished, not only because of the past, but also because of the future…Anyone who participates in genocide—no matter what their role, no matter how long ago, no matter how repentant–is forever responsible and forever accountable.

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Despicable Names

October 27th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 7 comments

Question:

Why do some of the names in the Old Testament have such bad meanings?  Can’t they be self-fulfilling prophecies?

Laura

Answer:

What a great question!  We would like to add an explanation for people who are new to ancient Jewish wisdom. We frequently mention, on our TV show and in our resources, that every Hebrew name in Scripture has a meaning. Even relatively little known names provide information about the person or the generation he or she represents. So, as we explain in our audio CD, The Gathering Storm, the names representing the generations spanning Adam to Noah (Genesis chapter 5) tell us what sort of decline was taking place during that era. Your question might refer to someone like NaVaL (or in English, Nabal) from I Samuel: 25 whose name translates as despicable.

As you correctly point out, parents who give a child a name such as that, would start the child off with something of a handicap in life. For this reason, many countries or jurisdictions reserve the right to reject certain names on a birth certificate, while some countries even provide a list of pre-approved names from which parents must choose their baby’s name.

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Potatoes and Healthcare

October 26th, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

Imagine if a world body declared that every country must consume the same quantity of potatoes and rice per capita as every other. No more regional preferences. Whatever is eaten in one region must be embraced everywhere. It would be ridiculous. On the other hand, if a small town made that declaration regarding the families that resided in that town, it would be dictatorial but not as disruptive. The more homogeneous the people and culture of a country, the more socialized its medicine can be. The more varied  the populace, the more of a failure socialized medicine will be. If immigrants through the centuries are a symbol of America’s greatness, they are also one reason that socialism and America are incompatible.

Strike Them Down

October 25th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 34 comments

There we were, Mrs. Lapin and I, breakfasting with friends on a rooftop patio overlooking the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  One of our breakfast companions is well connected with Israel’s high tech community and I immediately resolved to share with you what he disclosed to me. But first, by way of introduction, I must ask you a serious question.  Ideally, you’d want to wait to read this until you can quietly contemplate the implications of this enigma.

Imagine that you’re walking alongside a train track when you suddenly realize that a runaway train is rapidly bearing down. To your horror, you realize that in the next few seconds the train will hit five workmen on the track, all oblivious to their impending doom.

However, if you quickly pulled the track-switch lever right next to you, you could divert the onrushing train onto a siding where only one workman will be killed.  Would you be acting morally and ethically by doing so?  Some surveys show that a large majority of respondents believe the greater moral good will be served if they pull the switch to save five people by sacrificing one.

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Closing Holy Day

October 23rd, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

Sunday night, Oct. 23, starts the final holy day of this Jewish month that is chock-full of festivals. It seems a special gift from God this year, to take extra breaks from listening to the news and views out there. If you’re not Jewish or perhaps you are Jewish but don’t observe these holy days, why not challenge yourself to shut your computer, turn off your radio and talk only to yourself and to those you meet in person for one day a week?  You will most likely find that your level of discourse and thought rises immeasurably.

Autism, TSA and the Upcoming Election

October 20th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

Recently, my husband and I flew on Thursday to Phoenix, where he spoke for a Dave Ramsey sponsored Business Boutique event on Friday and for a local synagogue on Shabbat.

Not until the next day did we read of massive TSA lines in Chicago and of 3,000 bags that missed outgoing flights from the Phoenix airport due to TSA incompetence. In contrast, our TSA lines moved swiftly and it was the airline itself rather than TSA that behaved incompetently, consistently announcing an on-time departure despite the fact that anyone looking out of the terminal could see that there was no airplane on the tarmac. Eventually, they changed the departure time on the announcement board — to an hour after the flight actually left. Nonetheless, we were grateful to arrive safely at our destination and to meet our luggage there.

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I Want More Children-My Husband Doesn’t

October 20th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 14 comments

Question:

Hello, I am 41 with 2 children ages 8 and 10.  I have been begging my husband for a third child for nearly 3 years now and he will not allow it. He says he does not want another child, and I am so upset, angry and heartbroken. I feel like it’s unfair of him to steal my right to procreate and that this is not really his decision. Why does he get what he wants and I am left without?

Please tell me how I can get him to change his mind. I am furious and grieving all at the same time, and it is destroying our marriage.

Marianna

Answer:

Dear Marianna,

You sound very desperate and suffering as you long for another baby. If this has been going on for three years, then we can understand that your marriage has suffered.

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Thought Tool Update

October 20th, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

Thanks for your comments about needing a visual. Please check out the Thought Tool again – let us know if the Hebrew visual is helpful.

While we are learning how to take full advantage of our website, one of the things that we are most enjoying is hearing from all of you through the comments section. Being able to easily edit the teaching in response to your comments is an additional treat.

What’s in a Name?

October 19th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 23 comments

In an act of unprecedented ostentatiousness, Gerald Guterman chartered the famous ocean liner, the QE2, along with its one thousand crew members to celebrate his son’s bar-mitzvah in 1986.

Our son’s bar-mitzvah was solemnized in a small synagogue built on the Los Angeles ocean front in the 1940s.  Guterman was trying to add meaning to his family celebration by means of an extraordinary location.  We were blessed to add meaning to a picturesque old house of worship by having it house our act of religious significance.

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