TRENDING TODAY

The Atheist and the Rebbetzin Should Be Friends

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma, features a song that allows for a rollicking dance sequence even if it doesn’t do much for the plot. The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends  is a social commentary on the tension between ranchers and farmers in the early 1900s in Oklahoma Territory. The closing lines (after Aunt Eller stops the fighting by brandishing her gun), are:

“I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else,
But I’ll be danged if I ain’t just as good!”

I think it safe to say that well-known atheist Sam Harris and I (Rebbetzin means Rabbi’s wife) disagree on whether traditional Judeo-Christian morals and values are good for society or not. I think we agree, however, on allowing those with whom we disagree to present their case and the need to recognize that holding an opposing opinion does not automatically make one evil. In fact, having rational and respectful conversation is a wonderful way to refine one’s arguments, recognize flaws in one’s logic and potentially sway opinions. If you believe that your ideas have merit, there is no reason to fear such an exchange.

I know that Mr. Harris holds these views because my husband and I were in the car for an extended time this week giving us the opportunity to listen to a fascinating podcast. As a guest on the podcast Harris expresses serious concern about a society that is quick to marginalize and demonize ideas that don’t match the reigning ideology even when those ideas are based in science and fact. For that matter, in the desperate desire to shut them down, opposing ideas aren’t even necessarily presented accurately. He is one in a growing line of thoughtful liberals, including Professor Alan Dershowitz, who are waking up to discover that the ‘new and improved’ world they participated in creating, is dangerously retrogressive.

I hesitate to recommend listening to the interview which was episode #1107 on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast only because the host seems to have a limited vocabulary that repetitively features one vulgarity. The good news is that he allows his guests, Sam Harris and  Maajid Nawaz to do most of the talking. They are articulate men with fascinating experiences and while I know there are many areas where we disagree, we share a deep concern for the dogmatic silencing of dialogue taking place in the Western world today. An alliance between conservatives and the increasingly rare traditionally open-minded and thoughtful liberal is a friendship worth cultivating.

*   *   *   *
From Biblical advice on speech to tips on maximizing your use of time, delve into ancient Jewish wisdom in this 5 CD set.

On Sale Now

Biblical Blueprint Download

Are men serious when they say this?

I am a 56 year-old woman who has never been married. I have recently decided that I would like to find a man and get married even in this later time of life. This surprises me because it was never really one of my goals to get married, but I have realized that I do not want to be alone for the rest of my life.

My question is this: I have signed up for a couple of dating websites. I also go on dates with people that I am introduced to from other people but I find this same issue that I am emailing you about.

What I have noticed with a lot of men around my age is they say they are looking for and still have not found “the one.”  I am surprised that I am running into this as these are men that should know by now that there is really no “one person” for another. I will acknowledge there are instances where someone finds their so-called “soulmate,” but I believe these instances are few and far between. But these men seem to think that they will find the one even this late in life and expect fireworks, etc. when they meet someone and life will be just all hunky-dory when they meet this special person.

In my opinion, they are acting like teenage girls.  What are your thoughts on this whole finding “the one” to marry? And how do I reconcile this in my head?  Do I just not even consider getting to know men who have this notion because truthfully I doubt if I would be “the one?”

Sincerely,

Julie G.

P.S. I realize now that I should not have waited so long to find a mate.

Dear Julie,

Your sentence, “In my opinion, they are acting like teenage girls,” gave us a chuckle though we realize that this isn’t a laughing matter. You are, of course, correct in recognizing that waiting for “the one” is a good recipe for staying single.

However, we would take a man’s statement about “the one” to be an opening comment rather than considering it a closing argument.  For instance, instead of dismissing the man who claims to be ‘waiting for the One’ perhaps instead keep the conversation going by saying, “I also used to think marriages are made by waiting for the one, but I have since learned that time is better spent trying to become the One.” 

If this waiting for the One is not coming up in conversation, but instead it crops up on an online questionnaire or in the first few minutes of meeting someone, we think it just might be an easy quip that could precede a deeper conversation.  (If it’s online, it could also be the easiest and best box to check even if it doesn’t actually describe someone’s thoughts.) We agree that spending a lot of time with a man who is waiting for fireworks and a symphony orchestra is a waste of time, but we would at least give time for a cup of coffee before deciding that this truly describes that particular individual’s  worldview.

In your lovely letter, you disclosed why you are now contemplating marriage; you don’t want to be alone for the rest of your life.  And presumably, you seek a man who also doesn’t want to be alone.  While the desire to avoid loneliness is a necessary precondition for marriage—even God said, “Not good for man to be alone”—it is not sufficient. 

Not being alone because you have a husband solves your need but in a very passive way.  Similarly, you solve his need but just by being.  Our question to you is what are you eager to do actively for someone else other than just being there.  In other words, we think your goal of changing your marital status could be more quickly achieved by contemplating what else would you be committed to adding to a man’s life.  Focusing on what you would give rather than on what you would take often propels the courting process into overdrive.  Another way of looking at it is asking yourself why a great man would be incredibly fortunate to be married to you.

We would also like you to ask yourself whether you are a very results-oriented and driven individual which may be causing you to come across as using too much of a businesslike approach to dating. We are all in favor of dating seriously (we prefer the term courting) however meeting someone with whom to share a life should not be confused with a job interview. 

We would encourage you to have a balance between wariness that keeps you emotionally safe and being too quick to close yourself to options. By the time anyone is in his or her late 50s there is a great deal of history that has led to formation of character. It takes time to begin to reveal oneself.

We hope you would consider becoming a resource for younger women in helping them understand the value of marriage earlier than you did.  Perhaps offer some lectures or classes on the topic at your church or community center.  Quite possibly one of those younger women you help might introduce you to your future husband.  Our guidance here is based on the ancient Jewish principle that again and again we see that people who help others solve a certain problem find their own problems being resolved.

We are actually a bit surprised that only in your 50s are you thinking that marriage has something to recommend it and wonder what led to that way of thinking. We are sure we are not the only ones who would be fascinated to hear you speak on this topic while you reveal yourself and your thought processes in a personal and practical way.

We look forward to your sharing good news with us,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

*   *    *   *

May we recommend?

Biblical Blueprint Download
Does this topic interest you? SALE SALE

The When and Where Matter

This evening, Tuesday April 17, Susan and I are doing a live TV show in Akron, OH before a studio audience.  Among other teaching, we will accept questions from people in the audience to which we shall respond by employing principles of ancient Jewish wisdom.  This is what we do with our Ask the Rabbi feature that appears on our website each week. Except that tomorrow evening, we shall see the people asking and get to meet them after the one-hour show is done.

Imagine someone in the audience asking, “Rabbi, I want to get a divorce, but my wife who is here with me is really hurt and wants us to work on our marriage; what should we do?”  There is, of course, no way to respond helpfully to all the pain oozing out of that question in the few minutes available in the show format.  I know that both Susan and I would view it as a really inappropriate question to ask in a public forum.

A lawyer friend told me that, more times than he would have expected, he would be celebrating a family birthday at a restaurant when a client would approach him saying, “I know you’re in the middle of dinner, but…”  What would follow would be some technical issue that could have and should have been addressed in an office environment. 

As you roll down the track of life, with the exception of the very rare serendipitous incident, most positive events that improve your life occur only when you make them happen.  In almost all cases, that means interacting with another person and coming to some agreement.  It might mean a man persuading a woman to go out with him on a date.  It might mean two business professionals agreeing upon a mutually profitable transaction.  It might be a student getting a university admissions office to accept her application.  In most instances, one of the people is the ‘seller’, the ‘supplicant’ or the ‘proposer’ while the other agrees or declines.  Selecting the most propitious circumstances for the meeting is part of success strategy.   Choosing the right place and the right time to discuss something with someone is an imperative.  Yet so many seem oblivious. 

Take a lesson from Jacob who had a very sensitive discussion looming with his estranged brother Esau.  Jacob had received the blessing (Genesis 27:27) from Isaac which, he, Jacob, had purchased from Esau years earlier.  (Genesis 25:33).  Esau was furious and swore to murder his brother.  Jacob escaped into exile spending 20 years with his uncle Laban whose daughters he married. 

Now, returning home, Jacob dispatched messengers bearing gifts to his brother Esau.

Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau,
to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
(Genesis 32:4)

The obvious question that we are expected to ask is why Jacob sent messengers to intercept Esau during one of the latter’s visits to Seir? After all, it wasn’t until much later (Genesis 36:6) that Esau left Canaan and relocated to Seir. At this point in the narrative, Jacob could still have arranged his encounter with Esau in Canaan where they both lived.

To answer this question we need to remember that one of Esau’s wives was Oholibama (Genesis 36:2) who was from Seir and whose father, Anah, was a prince of Seir (Genesis 36:20).   Now we understand; Esau was visiting Seir with his wife for a family get together.

Jacob carefully planned his rapprochement with his brother.  What he wanted to convey in this long-awaited meeting was, “Look, family matters. We are connected as brothers and we need to live that way.”  Jacob had two choices about the most propitious location in which to bring up this sensitive family matter.  He could approach Esau at his home base in Canaan which was exactly where the original trouble that split them took place.  Alternatively, he could approach Esau while he was far from his office, focusing on family in far-off Seir.  Clearly that was the better choice.  Since the meeting went as hoped and the enmity was put aside, we can see that Jacob strategized well. 

When and where we schedule important meetings matters.  The obvious may not always be the best choice.  It nearly always warrants some strategizing.

Practical lessons like this spring from the Torah, God’s blueprint for our life. We package five of our audio CDs that reveal many of these tips and techniques in what we call the Biblical Blueprint Set. It is on sale right now allowing you to spend a few enjoyable hours absorbing wisdom you can absorb and apply.

And if you’d like to join our studio audience tonight and ask your own appropriate question, we’d love to see you.  Just contact our office (crystol@rabbidaniellapin.com) now for free tickets. 

Biblical Blueprint Download
SALE SALE

Yet We Live

As human beings, we struggle to know ourselves; no matter how close we are to someone it is impossible to completely know another person. This is particularly true for our parents.

When my friend, Naomi*, was sitting shiva (the Jewish week of mourning) for her mother, she discovered some flabbergasting news. Naomi’s father was her mother’s second husband. Not only had she been previously married, but she and her first husband had two children. That husband and those children were murdered by the Nazis.

Naomi had known that her mother was in a concentration camp, though her mother never spoke of those years. She knew that her parents met in a DP camp; she knew that she and her older siblings, named for slaughtered grandparents, were born after her parents reached America’s blessed shores. But she never imagined that her mother’s life had included a previous young family. This information explained so much. She now could see her mother’s hyper-vigilance combined with a certain emotional gruffness not as personality quirks but as the tortured expression of inestimable pain.

I was unusual among my classmates in having four living grandparents. In addition,  all four of my grandparents were in America from before World War I. My parents were born and grew up in New York City. My father even had grandparents and great-grandparents of his own living nearby. Since my grandparents never spoke of their murdered parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, I had infinitely less personal exposure to the Holocaust than my schoolmates who sometimes listened to their parents’ midnight screams as nightmares took them back to unbearable days.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want to share an uplifting, optimistic and soul-affecting video with you. Before I do, here is an introduction.

Last week, at the Passover Seder, many Jewish families like ours said the following words in Hebrew, “For in every generation they stand over us to annihilate us and the Holy One Blessed Be He, saves us from their hands.” This is often sung to an upbeat tune, which is rather odd when you think of the first part of the sentence. My friends’ parents also sang this, yet each one mourned way too many loved ones who weren’t saved. Why didn’t they reject this statement as untrue?

The verse refers to the Jewish people as a complete organism. As long as there is one Jew left to sing these words, it is a true testimony. And yes, as a people with a long history, there are many horrific examples of slaughter, yet by God’s grace we are still here.

This post-Passover time of year is associated with Rabbi Akiva, whose famous statement, “What is hateful to you do not do to others,” has become a universal credo. Rabbi Akiva was the premier teacher of his generation at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. He watched 24,000 of his students die in a plague. What did he do after such a devastating event? He chose five men and began teaching them so that the future would be assured.

As a child, I didn’t understand the greatness of those who suffered and saw their lives trampled and yet who picked themselves up and chose to have new children and new lives. Only a few survive today from that generation. Yet as this video (with English translation) shows, religious or not, learned or not, the overwhelming majority of the survivors followed in Rabbi Akiba’s footsteps. What an inspiring lesson this is for us.

*Naomi is not her real name. She is a composite of a number of my friends.

 *   *   *   *

This week’s featured sale item
Perils of Profanity: You Are What You Speak

“How I wish I’d known of it years ago. My teenage son has already listened to it an we’ve really cleaned up our language thanks be to God.” Lynne

Rabbi Lapin Download

THOUGHT TOOLS

  • The When and Where Matter April 17, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - This evening, Tuesday April 17, Susan and I are doing a live TV show in Akron, OH before a studio audience.  Among other teaching, we will accept questions from people in the audience to which we shall respond by employing principles of ancient Jewish wisdom.  This is what we do with our Ask the Rabbi Read More

ASK THE RABBI

  • Are men serious when they say this? April 17, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin - I am a 56 year-old woman who has never been married. I have recently decided that I would like to find a man and get married even in this later time of life. This surprises me because it was never really one of my goals to get married, but I have realized that I do Read More

SUSAN’S MUSINGS

  • The Atheist and the Rebbetzin Should Be Friends April 20, 2018 by Susan Lapin - The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma, features a song that allows for a rollicking dance sequence even if it doesn’t do much for the plot. The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends  is a social commentary on the tension between ranchers and farmers in the early 1900s in Oklahoma Territory. The closing lines (after Read More

ON OUR MIND

  • Finding The Off Switch: Four Reasons I Observe Shabbat April 10, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - This terrific piece by Peter Himmelman appeared in Forbes. Peter is a musician and businessman and also the son-in-law of Bob Dylan the musical icon of the 60s: "With the pace of technology and its demand for our attention increasing month-to-month, comes the challenge of occasionally leaving it behind. I’ve found some answers in my Read More

PODCAST

Listen to our podcast on the go or wherever you are!
Uncover how Ancient Jewish Wisdom can positively impact every aspect of your life.

Listen Now   

TV SHOW

We teach. We laugh. We even argue.
Scripture comes to life, guiding us all towards more happiness and success.

Watch Now   
Join the over 42,000+ people who have chosen to receive FREE weekly teachings from Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin revealing ancient Jewish wisdom for their lives.
Send Me Thought Tools   

Videos

Enjoy an assortment of video messages from Rabbi Daniel Lapin!

  • Homepage Video 1
  • Homepage video 2
  • Homepage video 3
  • Homepage video 4
  • Homepage video 5
  • Homepage video 7
  • Homepage video 8
  • Homepage video 10

About Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America’s Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, best-selling author and host of the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Show on The Blaze Radio Network. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths. Newsweek magazine included him in its list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis.

Speaker

Author

Rabbi

GET IN TOUCH

Do you have a question you’d like to discuss or simply want to stay in touch?

Send us an email at: admin@rabbidaniellapin.com or use the contact form below.

X