Thought Tools

Complain and Grow Old

A study (conducted before inflation drove prices skyward) claimed that American women spend an average of $65 per month on anti-aging creams and treatments. American men spend just under $50 a month taking care of their own faces. These numbers seem wildly improbable but, either way, the Bible provides advice on how to look younger...

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Field and Stream

Are you a specialist in your field of work?  What career field should I go into?  Will history graduates find work in their field?  Why is the word field by far the most common metaphor for work, career, or profession?  Why not ask, “what river do you work in?”  Or, “what road of work do...

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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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Fail Your Way to Success

A great deal has been going on in the corporate world recently, including Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, Florida’s revocation of Disney’s special status, and the failure of CNN’s streaming service, CNN+. While I am personally gratified that the millions of dollars poured into CNN+ did not convince people to appreciate the misguided content, I...

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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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Truth and Lies

What parent, at one time or another, hasn’t wished for an absolutely reliable, invisible lie-detector? What business professional interviewing a potential hire hasn’t wished for exactly the same thing?  Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Invisible’ is impossible. True, but so is ‘absolutely reliable lie-detector,’ so I saw no harm in adding ‘invisible’ to the wish list. It is true...

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Soul Food

You are how you eat I understand how someone who is hungry might dream of food, fixate on food and find it hard to concentrate on anything but food. Amazingly, Jewish women trapped by the Nazis in the Theresienstadt ghetto shared recipes with each other from memory. One woman wrote these down and her compilation...

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Henry’s Awful Mistake

Did fixing a problem make it worse? Don’t give up! In one of our children’s favorite picture books, Henry’s Awful Mistake, Henry the duck decides to get rid of an ant in his kitchen. Before long, his overly vigorous efforts lead to a burst water pipe, a flooded house and evacuation. You get the idea,...

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