Can you do it?

On March 3, 2018, Sir Roger Bannister died. As news of his death at the age of 88 hit the airwaves some might remember that this was the second time his death was publicly announced. 64 years earlier the young medical student became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. As he crossed the finish line in three minutes and 59.4 seconds on that momentous occasion on May 6, 1954, he fell exhausted to the ground. One Pathé newsreel report declared that he had died in his attempt to break the four-minutes-mile just as doctors had warned would happen to anyone who tried to do the impossible. The reporter quickly reversed himself when Roger Bannister triumphantly stood up.

One particularly amazing fact about the aspiring neurologist’s accomplishment was that his record was broken only 46 days later. In the following year, six more people broke the world record and today many college athletes run the mile in less than four minutes. Clearly, the human body is capable of doing so which begs the question as to why young Bannister was the first. He didn’t even have any particularly special training! Yet, his name is famous while the names of those who surpassed his record within only a few weeks and months have faded into oblivion.

The answer is simple: Until Roger Bannister ran the mile in under 4 minutes, nobody believed that it could be done.

I have heard my husband relate Roger Bannister’s story and the subsequent question many times. It is a powerful life lesson that if we human beings don’t believe we can do something we won’t be able to do it. We often need to work first on changing our minds and hearts in order to bring our goals to fruition.   

While my husband usually draws implications for business from this lesson, I want to apply it to another arena. Fewer and fewer people today believe that it is possible to create a joyous marriage that lasts for many decades. In large part this is due to fewer people having first-hand experiences of such marriages. Not only are we surrounded by divorced friends and relatives, or divorced ourselves, but many couples opt out of marriage in the first place. As Americans and those in many other countries marry later in life, a delighted couple in their fifties may have only been married for fifteen years or so and don’t present a road map for a young man and woman in their twenties who are contemplating marriage.

Even if there are long-term happily married couples in our orbit, the likelihood is great that both husband and wife are working outside the home. Neighborhood backyard get togethers, leisurely cups of coffee and relaxed evenings with friends are fewer and farther between. As large extended families are more rare and spread out over a greater geographical range, many teenagers and those in their twenties and thirties don’t have close relationships with members of other generations. It is easy to grow up without ever having a close look at a traditional, thriving, joyful marriage.

In what has devastating impact, we allow the press to fool us into thinking a celebrity couple are soul mates.  A few years later we watch them go through a bitter divorce. Marital affairs of prominent people grab the headlines while faithful couples go unnoticed. Today, increasing numbers of women and men get married or decide not to get married without ever having had personal exposure to a successful and sunny marital relationship.

Paradoxically, in our social media age, a huge number of us pay tear-jerking, almost desperate attention to accounts of elderly couples who share or shared decades of loving togetherness. While it is notoriously difficult for a young person to picture him or herself as elderly, videos such as this one, which has garnered over 7 million views, or stories like this exert a strong pull. Does anyone actually not want someone as devoted to him or her for as long a time as the couples in these stories?

Unfortunately, the message of these sentimental tales is overwhelmed by the noisy media, academia and entertainment driven culture telling us the opposite. Along with the hubris of youth, cultural messaging and personal experience tells young people to reject or delay marriage and to treat the covenant lightly. The bottom line is that many doubt that they could actually have such a marriage. It is worth taking time to internalize the message of Roger Bannister and his record shattering under four-minutes-mile. Believing in and treasuring the idea of traditional marriage is often a prerequisite to achieving one.

  *    *    *    *

A Musings Special and a “Lowest Price” Deal

Only $7
Lowest price
Special Musings offer. Save $9.95 on the Lasting Love Set
(offer good through Sunday 3/25)

Is an age gap in marriage a problem?

When considering marriage: Is an age gap (10-15 years) a bad idea (specifically for a girl being the younger)?


Dear Rebecca,

You have probably heard that a physician shouldn’t treat members of his own family and that a lawyer must recuse herself from cases that strike too close to home.

On that basis, we admit up front that we are not objective observers on this question since a bit more than ten years separates the two of us. It is with that awareness of some potential bias that we approach your question.

There is a big difference between factors that imperil a relationship and those factors that can complicate a relationship but which can be overcome. For example, if two people have different religions, then no matter how compatible they are on other issues, we would heartily warn them against marriage.  We’d warn against marriage if they are committed to different value systems, which in today’s climate might be revealed by different political preferences.  These kinds of differences will become bigger problem as years go by, not smaller.

On the other hand, when two people come from different economic backgrounds, ethnic groups, countries, social strata, emotionally different homes or a host of other factors, they can have a wonderfully successful marriage. However, it is prudent to be aware of potential issues.

When it comes to age, what are these issues? The positive side of marrying a man who is older by a number of years is that a woman has a better idea of who he is. He has had time to establish a track record in terms of community involvement, job success and personal behavior. There is more clarity about who he is than when the future is only speculation. His ability to have already put away a few dollars can help a couple start off on a more secure economic footing.

What issues should be addressed? Other than wanting to listen to music from different decades on long car rides ((Now we may be getting a bit personal-RDL), which is minor in the scheme of things, there are questions worth asking. Does the man respect the woman or is his attitude towards her more paternalistic in nature? Is she looking for a spouse, partner and head of household or for a father figure? Are there any major issues  concerning how the two may have been raised with decidedly different attitudes as times changed—the world is moving faster than it used to.

We are less sanguine about an age difference when the woman is older.  For a variety of reasons, marital stability is more likely to be imperiled with a noticeable age gap in favor of the woman.

The bottom line is that there are many issues that should be discussed as a couple contemplates marriage. How those discussions go and how conflicts are resolved is more important than a gap of ten or fifteen years.

May whatever decision you make put you on the path to a bright future.

Coping just fine with our age difference,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 *  *  *  *

Interested in insights from ancient Jewish wisdom on marriage, money, faith and family?

Thought Tools Volume 2: Fifty Timeless Truths to Uplift and Inspire
Lowest price we’ve ever offered!

One Reason the World Hates the Jews

People understand some occupations far more easily than others.  A farmer planting seeds or harvesting a crop is easily understood.  A contractor building a house is easily understood.  We easily understand a miner digging coal underground then bringing it up to the surface and a railway worker laying track, as we also understand a mechanic repairing a car.  We get a doctor, a dentist and a factory worker.  We even understand why the football hero or movie star make the big bucks.  We know what all these people do in order to get paid.  We understand the value they add.

In other words, we easily grasp Karl Marx’s labor theory of value.  He insisted that anything involving labor is valuable and the value of a good or service is proportional to the labor involved.  We might challenge Comrade Karl by pointing out that labor doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.  The dentist who labored for only half an hour to end my dreadful toothache gets paid far more than the coal miner is paid for half an hour of his labor.  But to give him credit, Marx would respond by explaining that the dentist labored long and hard in advance of my visit by acquiring the knowledge and skills to repair my tooth. Nonetheless, it isn’t hard to refute Marx’s views on value.

Almost everyone knows that the value of something is set exclusively by what other people (the market) are willing to pay for it.  If two stores offer me two identical chairs, but one was built by a carpenter using only hand tools over the course of two weeks of labor while the other was built quickly and efficiently with power tools, Marx would have to say the first is worth more.  In reality, we’d pay the same for each chair; we really aren’t interested in how much labor went into the job.  Everyone knows that a new Ford truck loses much of its value as soon as its new owner drives it home.  This is not decreed by some mysterious deity of Detroit. Rather it is the recognition that should the new owner wish to sell his truck, nobody will pay him anything close to what he just paid.

Still, in his day, Marx persuaded many people.  His disciples, including one Joseph Stalin who was only five when his economics guru died, bought into what became known as Marxism.  But there was a problem.

One of the occupations that completely contradicts Marxism is commerce.  Even a child watching a blacksmith or a carpenter grasps what they are doing.  Not so with commerce.  The child watches a sales professional sitting at his desk making dozens of phone calls.  Some are to his suppliers to inquire about product availability and prices while others are to possible customers who might be in need of those products.  Then he calls the suppliers again to deliver orders and shipping instructions.  Not surprisingly, the child is clueless about what the business professional was doing and why he gets paid. 

Should the patient parents of this precocious progeny explain just what the sales professional was doing, the little person might reasonably ask, “Why can’t the customer bypass this trader and simply purchase whatever it was he wanted directly from the supplier?”  Doing so would enable him to avoid the markup inevitably added on by the sales professional who manifestly added no labor at all to the product. 

Not surprisingly, this was just how Joseph Stalin saw it and along with his noxious pal, Lenin, proceeded to starve, persecute, and murder all the small businesspeople in the Soviet Union during the 1930s.  After all, these ‘vermin-like Kulaks’ did nothing but add cost to wheat, dairy products, and meat while adding no value at all.  At least one million, probably many more perished miserably.  As a result, without these crucial cogs in the machinery of daily living, the Soviet Union experienced many deadly famines.  That really isn’t the right term because Soviet soil always produced food.  It was just that nobody who knew how to bring it to towns and villages was still alive.

Seeing people engaged in commerce and trade as horrible human beings started long before Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.  In fact, back in the 5th century, early Church theologian St. Augustine stated succinctly, “It is impossible for one to gain if another does not lose.”  In other words, if there is someone between the farmer and your dining table and he is gaining, then you must be losing.  Trade and commerce merely prey on hard-working people.  Using this same thinking, rioters in American cities from back in 1968 up to the present, tend to destroy the small stores and businesses that bring goods and services into their neighborhoods.  Since those storeowners are making a living, clearly their customers must be losing. 

Martin Luther, in his book On the Jews and Their Lies recommended placing axes, shovels, and hoes into the hands of Jews and making them earn an honest living through their labor on farms like everyone else.  Luther loathed trade and commerce.  Going back many years earlier, even the ancient Greeks despised commerce.  Plato saw the merchant as a loathsome person and argued that no citizen should ever engage in commerce.  It was suitable only for second class people.  Aristotle also saw anything to do with trade as vulgar and utterly lacking in virtue. 

In the meantime, while Athens was demonizing the role of the business professional, Jerusalem was elevating it.  Putting his own money at risk by purchasing wheat, meat, and cheese from various farmers and bringing it into the town market so housewives could buy all their household needs from one single local supplier, was taught to be a good deed.  About a third of all the laws in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, are predicated upon a market place and the services of a vast class of merchants and traders. 

Throughout the Middle Ages, ecclesiastical authority kept Jews out of farming and out of most professions and crafts.  This left them little alternative but to engage in banking and trade which their own religious culture venerated in any case.  Not surprisingly, as merchants who made a profit, their gain was usually seen as everyone else’s loss.  Hatred of Jews became intense and ubiquitous. 

Only once a Judeo-Christian world-view developed, chiefly in Protestant countries and later in the United States, did economic vitality appear and was productivity and trade viewed favorably.  It was no accident that friendliness towards and tolerance of Jews invariably went hand in hand with developing economies.  Countries began to view Jewish business professionals as the economic assets they are.  Tragically, in those cultural zones in which Biblical commitment has faded, such as universities and left-wing politics, we again see mistrust of the merchant, suspicion of free market capitalism and hatred of the Jew and his land, Israel. While this isn’t, perhaps, even one of the most important reasons Jews are hated, it is one of the least considered. 

Many past Thought Tools have laid out the Torah view of money. Understanding the morality of the marketplace is a key tool in being financially successful. This week, you can get Thought Tools Volume 2 with 50 timeless messages on topics such as money, marriage, Hebrew and much more at its lowest price ever. Check it out now.

Thought Tools Volume 2: Fifty Timeless Truths to Uplift and Inspire


Don’t Like Your DNA? Change It!

If you, like me, have been learning from my husband for any length of time, you will be familiar with the idea that the physical world reflects the spiritual world. The fact that our eyes project an upside-down image of whatever we see unto our retinas isn’t a failure of evolution, it is a Divine message. Our eyes can easily lead us astray whether it is when we see a decadent piece of chocolate cake, a beautiful person or a ‘must-have’ gadget.

In contrast, our balance mechanism is located in our ears. Evolutionarily speaking, this makes little sense.  Our heads are in constant motion. The only reason we don’t lose our balance when we tilt our head is the equivalent of thousands of lines of software compensating for our head’s motion.  Evolution should have ensured that our balance mechanism would be in a more stable part of our bodies like the shoulders or hips. This isn’t a failure of evolution, it is a Divine message. We process information more rationally and unemotionally when we hear or read it rather than when we see a picture.

The media is agog with the news from NASA that, after spending a prolonged amount of time in the zero-gravity environment of space, astronaut Scott Kelly’s DNA differs from his earthbound twin brother Mark’s DNA. While scientists will discuss how strongly controlled the experiment was and whether the DNA changed permanently or it is only expressing itself differently, we should be asking what spiritual message we can draw from this.

Life is full of changes, surprises and unexpected happenings. Anyone who has lived for a number of decades has seen people who have lived honorably their whole lives become corrupted by dishonesty or immorality. They have also seen people living depraved lives make a complete turnaround and become scrupulously moral. We have watched society change its mind about what is good and what is evil and observed events uproot previously held definitions of normal.

We might have thought that one constant in our lives is our DNA. It turns out that we would have been mistaken. We can do things that will alter our very biology. Whether our actual genetic code changes, or the changes are at the epi-genetic level, the point is that our actions impact even the basic code of our bodies. I’m sure you won’t be surprised that this message has a spiritual companion. If you have listened to Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam or heard a number of our free teachings, you will have encountered the nation of Amalek.  Amalek, descended from Jacob’s twin Esau,  is Israel’s mirror-image. When Amalek thrives (like Haman in the Scroll of Esther), the Jewish people suffer. When the Jewish people behave righteously, Amalek suffers. In our time, Amalek is a spiritual rather than a racial identity. We can trace the nation through the Bible as it moves from Esau’s grandson to Agag to Haman and post-Biblical documents from ancient Jewish wisdom centuries prior to the 1900s talk of how Amalek will migrate to Germany.

However, the important point is that an Amalekite can convert to Judaism! A person born with that twisted spiritual DNA can make choices and do things that change his core essence. Indeed, in Israel today descendants of various top WW II Nazi officials live as Torah observant Jews. We do not have to allow our DNA to control us.

Of course, there is a flip side to this as well. As individuals and as a society we can take righteous DNA and corrupt it. Having been bequeathed gifts and blessings by those who came before us, we can alter ourselves until we squander that largesse. When we change our behavior enough, even our physical DNA may no longer match that which we inherited.

Do we improve or damage our physical and spiritual DNA with our actions? That decision is ours to make. 

*   *   *   *  * 

How do you know what actions to take? 
These resources can guide you on the right path. 

The Ten Commandments Download
Half-price Sale
On backorder. Lock in this price and orders will ship as soon as they arrive. 
The Ten Commandments: How Two Tablets Can Transform Your Life

On Sale Now

The Ten Commandments: How Two Tablets Can Transform Your Life MP3

50% off 


  • One Reason the World Hates the Jews March 20, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - People understand some occupations far more easily than others.  A farmer planting seeds or harvesting a crop is easily understood.  A contractor building a house is easily understood.  We easily understand a miner digging coal underground then bringing it up to the surface and a railway worker laying track, as we also understand a mechanic Read More


  • Is an age gap in marriage a problem? March 21, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin - When considering marriage: Is an age gap (10-15 years) a bad idea (specifically for a girl being the younger)? Rebecca Dear Rebecca, You have probably heard that a physician shouldn’t treat members of his own family and that a lawyer must recuse herself from cases that strike too close to home. On that basis, we Read More


  • Can you do it? March 22, 2018 by Susan Lapin - On March 3, 2018, Sir Roger Bannister died. As news of his death at the age of 88 hit the airwaves some might remember that this was the second time his death was publicly announced. 64 years earlier the young medical student became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. As Read More


  • March 12, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - Regular listeners to my podcast know that I've been explaining this to you for a long while already. Today, beautiful validation in a Wall Street Journal story you'll enjoy. Doomsday Climate Scenarios Are a Joke One study says world GDP will drop 20% by 2100, but Iceland and Mongolia will be rich beyond imagining. By Read More


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   


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   


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.





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

Send us an email at: or use the contact form below.