ancient jewish wisdom

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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First Fruits (and sometimes Nuts)

l Here is today’s Thought Tool quiz: Early in 1845, Henry David Thoreau, along with about twenty of his friends, began a two and a half year-long party in a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond, near Concord Massachusetts.  True or False? In 1971 Ted Kaczynski, his wife, six children, a nanny, a tutor,...

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Action Man

Have you noticed how many men seem allergic to something broken?  Often a man acquires a new car and the first thing he does is lift the hood to see if anything needs doing.  Perhaps he installs a police-radar detector or buys safety valve stem caps for his tires.  Here’s the secret: for men, engagement...

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When Noah and Abraham Met

I know a lawyer who really wishes that he was a rabbi.  I also know a rabbi who really wishes he was a doctor.  Have you met the plumber who really wishes he was a poet or the bookkeeper who really wishes she was a ballerina?  The lawyer is doing nothing to change his profession...

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Power of Purpose

The international accounting giant, Deloitte, recently spent over $300 million educating its 50,000 American employees about its purpose.  This sounds a little touchy-feely for the world’s largest audit, tax and consulting firm.  They spent so much money in this way because they determined that companies that instill a strong sense of purpose in their people...

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Mountains and Molecules

My children constantly fascinate me when we hike in breathtakingly beautiful British Columbia during the summer. Some of them visibly thrill to the vast vistas and magnificent landscapes revealed as we crest a hill.  Others seem oblivious to the large scale spectacles but will stoop to pick up a pebble which can absorb their attention...

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Chatter is Cheap

In social settings, one sometimes hears people babbling about the marvelous things that they are going to do.  In the business environment, it is even more unsettling to hear an entrepreneur making public pronouncements of forthcoming achievements.  Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how the world REALLY works knows that saying a lot...

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Humble Hombres

I mean no disrespect to males.  Really. I am one myself.  But as the father of six daughters, my instincts lean towards protecting females.  Girls are far more emotionally vulnerable than guys.  Guys must learn to take it on the chin.  So, just as long as you know this is not anti-male, we can proceed....

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Food and Faith

A four-week window of Jewish holy days is approaching. I understand why we will spend more time in synagogue than usual. However, we will also spend more time at the dining room table. This isn’t a concession to human frailty; it is recognition of human greatness. Ever since the start of our lives as babes...

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A Sailor’s Life for Me

You don’t need the power of command in order to be a leader.  You don’t have to be able to fire, fine or imprison people in order to lead them. It is possible to influence others by evoking admiration. Let’s survey the first chapter of the book of Jonah, focusing on the interaction between Jonah...

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