Posts by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

What to do with a disgruntled member?

September 28th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

Question:

I am a homeschool mom who is connected to a homeschool community. We meet on a weekly basis. The children are tutored by the moms and are paid. The moms are encouraged to help out and use their talents with organizing field trips, taking photos to create a year book , etc.

 We have a situation where one mom, who was involved very much and due some circumstances after paying full tuition, decided to register her children in a school. In the contract it states that parents after  paying tuition will not get a refund. She is very disappointed because she is treated the same as a parent who did not lift a finger. What is a biblical approach to this case?

S.

Answer:

Dear S.,

Financial interactions and human interactions are intertwined. While money allows us to work together peacefully, it can also be the source of ill feeling and friction.

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Reconciliation or moving on?

September 22nd, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 7 comments

Question:

Thank you for the opportunity to ask my question.  I have been praying for a reconciliation with an ex for a fulfilling and loving relationship.  It’s been almost 11 months apart and since last Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) I have been praying. Interacted with my ex a few times and found out recently that he is seriously dating.  Should I continue praying to Hashem or just give up?  

Thank you!

Hadas

Answer:

Dear Hadas,

It sounds like you have had a rough year. You are asking a question about your personal situation, but the general idea applies to just about everyone at one time or another. Do we let God know what we wish, or do we instead pray to God to do His will?

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NY Bombings

September 18th, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

If one powerful  political party and most mainstream journalists are highly invested in the NYC bombings NOT being connected to Islamic terrorism or any leftist group, do we really think that information will be shared quickly and honestly?

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What do God’s different names mean?

September 15th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

Question:

I am looking for some good Jewish/Hebrew information about the names of God. Has Rabbi Daniel Lapin written or spoken on that topic anywhere? 

I love what I have learned from him and I would like to learn more on this topic.

Anne

Answer:

Dear Anne,

One of the amazing things about studying the Torah is that you never reach a point where you can say, “Well, now I know everything.” The question you are asking illustrates how reading passages with a focus on a specific idea—in your case the name used for God—can reveal an entire new level of meaning.

Sometimes, the name for God that is used changes our entire understanding of an episode. In The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah, we reveal how early in Genesis God’s name changes (in the Hebrew, of course), and how looking at certain sections through the lens of which name is used gives an entirely new perspective on what we thought we understood.

Sometimes a Name connoting mercy is used and other times the Name associated with justice. In some places, for instance in Esther, there are hidden mentions.  We often point them out in our TV show and in our writing.

One of the chapters in our book Buried Treasure: Life Lessons from the Lord’s Language (which is on sale right now!) discusses even another name of God. We hope this gives you a starting point for a deeper study of Scripture.

Keep asking questions,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

I Give Charity but See No Blessing

September 8th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 14 comments

Question:

I give tzedaka (charity) every month yet there is no blessing. Why?

Asher

Answer:

Dear Asher,

All of us sometimes focus on our personal situations and end up missing the bigger picture. We’re sure you know that the blessings that come from being charitable are not in the form of a ‘pay for play’ scheme. It is not like inserting money in a vending machine and (unless the machine is broken) being guaranteed that the specific purchase you requested gets delivered promptly.

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Should my priority be career or marriage?

September 1st, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 3 comments

Question:

I am a Christian and a divorced mother (not by my own choice). I have been divorced for four years and have two teenage children still in the home. I am currently reading your book Thou Shall Prosper and am learning quite a lot that will help me provide better for my family. Although I have a BS degree and am diligently working to expand my career opportunities, my heart’s desire has always been to simply be a wife and mother.

My question is should I be investing a lot of time into furthering a career that I really don’t love, or instead, spend some time and resources seeking opportunities to attract a husband? I feel this idea is discouraged by most but no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to change my heart’s desire. I am confused as to what would be the wisest and most fulfilling path for me.

Answer:

Dear friend,

While the question you are asking is complicated by the fact that you are divorced with two teenagers, in its most basic form, the work/family dilemma affects most of us. At many stages of life, we need to make choices that we hope will allow us to merge a successful financial life with a successful family life. (more…)

All the news?

September 1st, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

Friends who lived in the former USSR tell us how learned to read between the lines of Pravda, the government newspaper. They certainly didn’t expect to get an honest account of important news from the tightly controlled articles. In the last few days, Drudge has reported Homeland Security considering taking charge of the upcoming election and another site reported a CA postal worker stashing close to 50,000 pieces of mail in her apartment. Why can’t we find info on these stories in the L.A. Times or other establishment papers? Are the stories bogus or is most of the media not even pretending to journalistic standards anymore?

My son has autism and can’t connect with others

August 25th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 25 comments

Question:

I have been listening to your podcasts & have found them to be very informative & fascinating. I just listened to your episode of 2/20/16 about Jewish attitudes towards money, business, etc. I was saddened, though, as I heard you discuss the 10 Commandments in terms of God’s 5 Commandments about “connections”. I am the mother of a young adult autistic son who has never been (and most likely will never be) able to connect to people well enough to make a friend, hold a job, or lead what society considers a productive life.

As a Catholic Christian, I believe my son has dignity as a child created in the image of God. The inability to connect with others, though, is central to what it means to be autistic. It is a heartbreaking & serious lifelong condition that limits his ability to be a part of the world around him.

As you quoted from Genesis, God said,” It is not good for man to be alone,” but this is my son’s reality. How does Jewish wisdom respond to the unique challenges associated with autism? With autism becoming so much more prevalent, I wonder if you might address this topic for me & other families living with autistic family members.

Thank you so much & God bless you & your work!

Ann R.

Answer:

Dear Ann,

Thank you for trusting us with such a sensitive question. We completely agree with you that your son’s life has intrinsic value and dignity by virtue of being created in God’s image. (more…)

Up and Running

August 24th, 2016 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

This has been an exciting few days for us as we launch our new website. There is so much we look forward to sharing with you that we couldn’t do in the past. Thank you very much for the positive feedback and we appreciate the patience and generosity of those of you who have run into the inevitable adjustment glitches. We will keep on working with our fantastic web partners Colby Foster and Greg Bartos to get everything running smoothly. They’ve been a pleasure to work with translating technical know how into language even we can understand.

Can you recommend ways to deal with stress?

August 17th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

I was wanting to know if there is any ancient Jewish wisdom regarding how to handle stress and anxiety in everyday life.

Thank you Shalom and God Bless.

– La’Shar

Answer:

Dear La’Shar,

There are so many different ways we can approach your question, and it is one that touches on each of our lives. Perhaps, that is the starting place. Have you ever tried to open a door using the wrong key? No matter how much you jiggle the key or how irritated you get, the door won’t open. You need to try another key. (more…)