Monthly Archives: July, 2015

Here’s Looking at Carly

July 30th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 23 comments

My instinctive, visceral reaction to Carly Fiorina’s presidential aspirations was to dismiss her out of hand. There were two reasons for this.  

Number one: I have grave reservations about the presidency being anyone’s first political position. While I don’t like giving the nomination to “the next person in line,” and I find that career politicians frequently lose touch with life outside the Beltway, going straight to the presidency seems too big a jump.

Number two: I despise any argument that begins with, “This will be a good way to get the (fill in the blank) vote. I actually believe in certain principles, among them supporting policies that help America.  I abhor the idea of passing legislation that is wrong for the country in the hope of getting women, African-Americans, Asians, young people, citizens of a certain state, older people, Hispanics etc., etc., to vote for you. Aside from being wrong, I also think it is foolish as there is no way to out ‘identity politics’ the Democrats.  The number of people who were promoting Carly Fiorina because, “We need a woman to go against Hillary,” primed me to dislike her campaign, even if she did not make that argument herself. 

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Should we spank our children?

July 30th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I met you recently when you came to Dallas, TX to address our meeting with Primerica. Thank you for what you do. 

My question is short and basic. What does the bible teach about punishment for children? My wife and I are expecting our first child. We are not in agreement with the idea of physical punishment. We need guidance to what scriptures says about spanking your children. 

Please help!

∼ Colter D.

Answer:

Dear Colter,

First of all, may God shower blessings on you and your wife for recognizing that raising children needs much thought and discussion even before the child is born. It is wonderful that the two of you see the need for being on the same page and having clear, guiding rules by which to run your family.

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Me, Me, Me!

July 29th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

This fellow I know runs a struggling consulting business.  The advice he delivers is of high quality–I know because I have consulted with him once or twice.  Yet he struggles.  He agonizes about his lack of success. He is proud of his professional competence but is baffled by his competitors who vastly outperform him financially, though his skills and experience are superior to theirs.

Obviously there could be many reasons to account for his lackluster growth.  Maybe he makes mistakes in his marketing or perhaps he should adjust his pricing but these are relatively easy to fix. This fellow has worked on that yet he continues to fail.  And I know why.  But he’s never asked me so I’ve never told him.  Unsolicited advice is seldom welcome.

I know what his problem is because he unknowingly reveals it to me.  In casual conversation he has often said things like this: “You know that builder friend of yours, do you think you could get him to do me a favor?”  Or this: “At that birthday party I attended last night I met a lawyer with whom I hit it off; I think his wide range of contacts could help me.”  Even this: “Remember you suggested I look up Mr. Jones while I was in Chicago? I did and I can’t see what good he could do me.”

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Aldrich Comes After Alcott Even in a Crazy World

July 22nd, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 13 comments

If you wandered around the Marina del Rey, CA docks a few years back, you might have found my husband on his hands and knees, polishing the teak on his cherished sailboat. Sun and salt water are both tough on wood, so it was a job that constantly needed doing.

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Polishing wood was therapeutic. Daily life is filled with activities that only give us delayed feedback. As the rabbi of a congregation, a business-owner, a husband and a father, it was frequently difficult for my husband to know how things were actually going. A discouraging week could be followed by a productive one, a brilliant speech could be followed by one that fell flat. Did we over-react or under-react to a child’s problem? In many cases, it is a matter of weeks, months, years and even a lifetime before we can gauge our success. 

Not so with teak. One sets out to tackle a worn, tired looking patch of deck and after applying polish, time and elbow grease that same area is a shiny pleasure to behold. Of course the change won’t last, but for a short while you know that the job is well done. 

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Am I wrong to accept gov’t. assistance?

July 22nd, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have an ailment affecting daily tasks. My decline causes need for care. The system for this is through Federal assistance, etc. Were I better, I’d never ‘go on the dole’. Yet I am viewed as a taker. 

Yet, did not my folk put forth that which was placed into the chest so to speak, for such events as mine? I paid it too. Now it is my turn. Do I give it up or accept thankfully what I have?

∼ Al H.

Answer:

Dear Al,

We are very glad that you wrote us because this is one of those questions that doesn’t lend itself to thirty-second statements. For this reason, exaggerated, misquoted and misleading statements get made and repeated.

Many people are rightly concerned that the percentage of Americans who are dependent upon government is becoming larger than the percentage who are supporting themselves. This is a valid concern, however we must recognize that there is a huge difference between someone whose lifestyle choices lead them to irresponsibly take advantage of their fellow citizens and those who, for example, are members of the military getting paid by the government.

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Welcome to the Upper Class

July 21st, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Some Republican politicians shock me when they make statements like these.

“My tax plan will benefit the working class.”

“We must show how much we care for the poor.”

“It’s not only the rich who’ll benefit…”

“We don’t have to worry about the upper class.”

“Crime is concentrated among the lower class.”

By adopting the language of Karl Marx they surrender to socialism.  Socialism’s core belief is secularism whose paramount doctrine is that there is no God directing humanity; no God decreeing morality.  Socialism insists that all you see around you is materialism and it owes its origins to nothing but unaided, random physical and chemical processes.  It follows that every human being is little more than about $9.50 worth of common chemicals cunningly arranged. A little carbon, some oxygen and a dash of hydrogen; throw in some potassium, nitrogen, and a few other elements, and bingo! You’ve got a person.  This is the central organizing principle of secular fundamentalism.

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No Trump; No Trump Apologies

July 15th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 4 comments

I do not want Donald Trump to be president. After eight years of a self-adulating leader, I prefer someone who loves America more than he loves himself. I also do not want as president anyone, who while a candidate, apologizes for statements Donald Trump made. I am tired of timid Republicans who are fearful of proudly upholding conservative principles—both social and economic. I prefer someone who will force a discussion on issues rather than who grovels and is  embarrassed anytime anyone connected with Republicans or conservatism says something less than perfect. I certainly don’t want a candidate who insults and demeans the conservative base. 

In her weekly column for the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan said about upcoming Republican debates, “None of the candidates will want to take Mr. Trump head-on because he doesn’t play within the margins of traditional political comportment. He’s a squid: poke him and get ink all over you.”

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How did you know the EU wouldn’t last?

July 15th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

How in the world were you able to predict the eventual fall of the European Union?  It has been more than seven years since I purchased your entire library package.  Even today, I can still recall the confidence in your voice when you predicted in the “Tower of Power” audio that the EU would break apart — and you didn’t have access to the 2015 news about Greece when you recorded it years ago.
It seems like Nigel Farage, the leader of the of the UK Independence Party, has purchased your library package as well as he was just quoted as saying, “The European Union is dying before our eyes”.  In 2008, when I listened to your prediction, one US Dollar was worth 63 cents; today one US Dollar is worth 91 cents.  What is your secret?”

∼ Bobby P.

Answer:

Dear Bobby,

If we thought we had a secret for predicting future events, we would set up a ‘psychic’ booth on the boardwalk. Here’s the drawback: we have no inside scoop;  when we do see the future and hear prophetic footsteps, it is only because of the laser beam of clarity that ancient Jewish wisdom shines onto human events.  What we teach is based on God’s word in the Bible.

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Do the Wright Thing

July 14th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

If you’re trying to build a business, sustain a marriage, raise children or if you’re engaged in any other long-term challenging project, there is a lesson to be found in the story of flight.

It was the fall of 1900;  Wilbur and Orville Wright were living in a tent on the barren windswept sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, about 75 miles southeast of Norfolk, Virginia and about 200 miles east of Raleigh, North Carolina.  Today you can easily drive to Kitty Hawk via the concrete Wright Memorial Bridge, but the Wright brothers had to take a hazardous two day sail in a leaky old schooner from Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River.

Once there, everything was a challenge.  They constantly worried about their business and their father and sister back in Dayton, Ohio.  Drinking water, food, and supplies were hard to come by. The wind repeatedly demolished their tent.  But of course the wind was why they were there in the first place.  Each time their primitive gliding machines were damaged, they meticulously rebuilt them.

At that time, it was positively assumed that flying was impossible. Even the Washington Post categorically declared that, “man cannot fly”.  That was all there was to it.  The Wright brothers were surely engaged in a fool’s errand.  Traveling backwards and forwards between Kitty Hawk where they tried to fly and Dayton where their bicycle business needed attention, they struggled with failure after failure for three long years until they finally flew a heavier-than-air machine for the first time in human history on December 17th, 1903.

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Useful Idealists

July 8th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 9 comments

When I wrote last week’s Musing a week in advance and declared that whatever was happening, I was not going to pay much attention, I had no idea that my Musing would run right after one of the most momentous weeks in American history. Two major Supreme Court decisions came down, each of which, in its own way reshaped this country. (As for my week, it was wonderful and you can see some pictures below.) 

The Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling did not happen in a vacuum. It is, in many ways, the logical conclusion of the 1962 and 1963 Supreme Court decisions removing prayer and Bible reading from government schools. A featured player in those endeavors was Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who, according to her son, openly stated her goal of bringing down the United States. These rulings effectively began the powerful process dedicated to replacing the idea from our Declaration of Independence that our rights come from our Creator, with the concept that rights emanate from government. 

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