Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Oil Painting

Can you spot a connection between all these English words? A—AN—ANT—ANTI—ANTIC—ANTICIPATE No, of course not. Other than each being formed by adding letters to the previous word, there is no conceptual connection. Yet in the Lord’s language, the meanings of the four following words are strongly linked: חשׁמנה שׁמנה שׁמנ שׁמ Reading from right to...

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Is the House Burning Down?

AAJC 2022 Update Dear Friend— Thank you for your generous support of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) these past few difficult years. Whatever we have accomplished and however we have helped our Happy Warriors to keep on building has been possible only through your gifts. American artist Charles E. Burchfield painted this...

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Holy Water

“It’s not FAIR!” screamed the toddler having a temper tantrum. Tough on his mother, to be sure, but when an adult political leader uses the same word which is not only without definition but also without meaning, the consequences can be far more serious. Another oft-used word whose definition and meaning is also obscure is...

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Danger – Laughter Ahead

Humor can be dangerous. In Stalinist Russia laughing at a joke the regime deemed inappropriate might trigger loss of a job or worse. Today, in the United States, comedians as famous as Jerry Seinfeld no longer perform on college campuses based on the hate-filled reactions hurled at them. Paradoxically, a sense of humor remains high...

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A Tale of Two Bees

There are many secrets to success in life, but here’s a good one:  Empower your wife and other vital women in your life to bring out the best in you. This lesson emerges from a mystery posed by three verses, Genesis 24:58-60. Verse A:They called Rebecca and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” ...

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Never Marry Your Aunt

One of my least favorite laws was the National Speed Limit law of 1974 that mandated 55 miles per hour as the legal maximum. Government assured us that it would save gasoline that, back then, we were lining up at gas stations to buy at, gasp! 55 cents a gallon. Of course the law did...

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Ham-I-Am

“You look at the sun three times a week?” asked George’s optometrist incredulously. George explained that counting sunspots was his hobby and he depended upon his eye-care professional to keep his vision healthy. “I can only keep your eyes healthy, George, if you follow the rules,” insisted his doctor. How ridiculous of George to keep...

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Love Your Neighbor – Really.

One of the most frequently recurring questions that I am asked is this: “Rabbi Lapin, I try to live my life as an upright and decent person and I try to make my decisions according to the Biblical code of good and evil but I often feel exploited. Sometimes relatives count on my good nature...

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Best Friends Forever

In a Torah-observant Jewish home, Passover may be an eight-day holyday (seven in the land of Israel), but preparations for the Festival, both physical and spiritual, commence weeks earlier. I’ve discussed in previous Thought Tools that Passover revolves around family. Paradoxically, however, Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals. In the times of Solomon’s...

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Passover and the Pacific Crossing

To the dismay of my parents and the bewilderment of my wife Susan’s parents, we sailed our family from Los Angeles to Honolulu on our small sailboat a number of years ago. We spent nearly a year in preparation. Susan planned the meals for the entire voyage and wrote down where each item of food...

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