ancient jewish wisdom

Welcome to the Upper Class

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...

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How did you know the EU wouldn’t last?

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...

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Grab That Ox

Almost everyone can tell when a synagogue or a church is in the final stages of decline.  The impending extinction is usually caused by changing neighborhood demographics or sometimes by a leadership crisis but the signs are always conspicuous.  Diminished attendance; few young women, a sad-looking facility showing signs of neglect. A roof needing repair,...

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Snow White and the Bible’s 7 Year Cycle

Have you ever wondered why Snow White met seven dwarfs? Not six, not eight— exactly seven. Why do we speak of Seven Wonders of the World—perhaps there should be nine? Marilyn Monroe even starred in The Seven Year Itch. Have you ever wondered why England celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne on the fiftieth...

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Adam, Moses and Air-Conditioning

More than a quarter million Bangladeshis were killed by a typhoon in November 1970.  Horrifying!  But wait, twice that number of Americans were killed by an influenza virus in 1918.  In the summer of 1995 excessive heat killed over 700 Americans while in the same year severe cold or hypothermia killed more than 2,000.  I...

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Change Jobs – Become a Futurist

In case you are contemplating a career change, I want to suggest becoming a ‘futurist’ (i.e. a secular prophet).  It is not as hard as it may seem.  You boldly announce provocative predictions.  If they subsequently come to pass, you triumphantly proclaim your prescience.  If they don’t, you make new predictions. Consider one of the...

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Amazon, Apple, and DNA

Internet giant, Amazon, is famous for its frugality. This means cheap desks cobbled together from wooden doors and scraps of lumber. It also means main cabin air travel, even for senior executives, on long flights.  This corporate parsimony didn’t suddenly appear from nowhere.  Although he was already a senior vice president at a successful hedge...

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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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You Want the Last Word?

Has one of your children ever approached you with a long litany of complaints?  Your offspring begins detailing his grievances, some of them more perceived than real.  You gently interrupt to contradict the mistakes. Perhaps it’s a friend or professional associate.  The instinct to defend ourselves against what we feel is an illegitimate allegation is...

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Fossil Fuel Festivities

Around the world, Jews greet the holiday of Chanukah by lighting one flame. On each successive night of this eight-day festival we add one additional flame, culminating on the eighth night with a fully lit eight-flame menorah. Among the miracles commemorated by Chanukah is that God made a tiny quantity of consecrated oil last for...

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