Posts tagged " marriage "

Wife vs. Friend

May 24th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

I’ve been married for 18 years and we have 3 beautiful kids.

I think we have a problem. My husband is helping a friend by letting him borrow his truck a for little more than 2 months now. Every Thursday my husband drives the 2 youngest ones to school in our two passenger van. I asked him to ask his friend to return our truck so he could drive the kids to school safely, but he said that he is helping the friend and can’t ask him that yet.

Help me understand if I’m being selfish when my concern is the safety of the kids? On top of that his friend has been using the truck for more than two months. I think this has been enough time to get on his way, since his is getting paid regularly.  I assume he’s doing okay because I heard that the friend even loaned money to someone.

Do you think I’m being mean to my husband and his friend? I also laid out my views and concerns for my husband, on the first day he let the friend use the truck. I was even concerned that we may be holding his friend back from moving forward and  getting the better things in life for himself. 

Thank you so much for everything that you and Susan do. I watch your show every day on TCT and I’m now reading one of your books. I have a much better idea of things now because of you.

Love,

Gina S.

Dear Gina,

We’re delighted that you find our shows and books helpful. That encourages us to keep taping and writing.

You are actually asking three different questions:

  1. Is your husband driving your children in an objectively unsafe way?
  2.   Is your husband giving his friend help in a way that keeps his friend from taking responsibility for his own life?
  3. What say do you have in how your husband helps his friend?

It is possible that your husband thinks that doubling up on seating is perfectly safe but you don’t. However, we have a suspicion that your concerns do not stem entirely from the safety issue or you wouldn’t have let your husband drive the children even once in an unsafe manner.

You might be right that it would be good for the friend to become more independent, however you can’t know that for sure. It is possible that your husband’s friend has shared confidences with him that you don’t know about or that other factors are in play.

The third question is really the pivotal one in terms of your marriage. We feel that your question is far more of a state-of-marriage question than it is a child-safety question or your concerns about the friend’s own situation.

When you are married there is no such thing as “your husband’s truck.” This might be different if you are very wealthy and the family has many vehicles and your husband used discretionary income that you both agreed was his alone to buy a truck, but that isn’t the situation for most typical families.  If the truck is your family vehicle, the two of you should have agreed whether it should be loaned to a friend and for how long.

It seems to us that you may be feeling hurt because your husband is putting friendship ahead of family and that he acted on this family-concerning matter without your agreement.  Maybe you are also feeling that your husband doesn’t appreciate how hard you work doing all the school driving except for this one trip that your work schedule doesn’t allow you to do. 

Or, perhaps, you think that you are both being taken advantage of by this friend. Is it possible that your husband also thinks that it is time for the arrangement to end but doesn’t know how to do that?  These are all legitimate questions and all should be discussed.  But they must be discussed in the right way in the right place in the right time.  Remember, the main concern here is not cars and trucks, or friends or even children, but the marriage. 

Whatever the case, you now have a bit of a sore point in your marriage that needs to be healed.  It is quite possible that from your husband’s perspective, this is just about the truck.  It would be quite typical and entirely understandable that he has no clue how this has started to impact your feelings about him and your marriage.   Try and be sensitive to this masculine world view. 

We encourage you to find a quiet and stress-free time to talk to – and listen to – your husband. Before you can do this, you need to make sure that you can speak without sounding angry or hurt. Ask questions. Acknowledge your husband’s kindness while asking if there is an end date in sight. Find out why he thinks this in no big deal or is the right thing to do. Analyze together whether there really is a safety issue (how far is the drive; is there a lot of traffic…). Is there another solution? Could your husband and you switch vehicles on Thursday so you drive the van and he uses the car you usually drive? Be open to the idea that this loan may continue for a while longer while, at the same time, helping your husband see your point of view.  Perhaps he, in turn, can try to remember that in future, these kinds of actions are joint husband/wife decisions. 

We see this as another of those wonderful opportunities that arise in the life of a couple to grow the marriage.  The process is first for each of you to see the entire matter from the other’s perspective.  Make frequent use of the phrase “Just to be sure I understand, are you saying that….?” 

The next step is that even if you still disagree, you each learn how to give the other the respect of acknowledging that their point of view can also be valid.  The final and most important step is for both to realize that when two people are married, they can each retain different ideas and the couple can function quite well.  However, once ideas have to become actions, the couple as one unified entity can only take one action. 

For instance, one of you might think London is an ideal vacation destination while the other prefers Miami.  This is no problem until you have to decide where to spend two weeks this summer.  Clearly a compromise that places you mid-Atlantic is no solution.  One way or the other, you have to decide whether to go to London or Miami in a way that does not leave anyone feeling beaten or resentful. 

This can best be achieved by discussion particularly in an atmosphere of love and appreciation for one another. 

In the case of some disagreements, it is enormously helpful to bring in an independent third party “arbitrator.”  As a matter of fact, we advise newly marrying couples to select such a person in advance.  (This is RDL now:  early in our marriage we both agreed on my father. To my astonishment, in about two thirds of the issues on which we consulted him, he sided with Susan. But we were both fine with his rulings and we both accepted them with no stress on our relationship.)

Take care of each other and safe driving,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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Exposed

May 16th, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 23 comments

Even as I wrote it, I was disturbed by my last week’s Musing. The Musing’s premise was that we shouldn’t be surprised by hypocrisy in our politicians. I think, sadly, that this is true.  When many citizens demand that elected officials sanctimoniously parrot standardized phrases and then vote on the basis of those politically correct formulations we shouldn’t be surprised that the words of those running for office don’t match their personal actions.

This is not confined to politicians, of course. Our society keeps on pushing people to say one thing and think, believe and do another. For example, for many years now students taking a variety of exams, have been forced to choose between marking what they know to be the officially correct answer or responding with the truth according to their beliefs and, often, according to science. Recently, the MCATs, taken by aspiring doctors, added ideological questions that compel religious Christians and Jews to make exactly that deeply disturbing choice.

However writing about Eric Schneiderman, who resigned as New York’s Attorney General after allegations of disturbing personal conduct were made, troubled me. This resignation follows a pattern in a continuing series of stories that fling private matters into the public realm.

Let me explain.  This Saturday night marks the 3,330th anniversary of God giving the Torah on Mt. Sinai. While the Five Books of Moses do feature many oft-cited rules about charity, food, justice and sexual behavior, a surprising number of them deal with speech.

Gossip as entertainment has become so deeply embedded in our society that it is easy to forget that the prohibition against it springs from the same source as the prohibition against theft and adultery. In the Bible, there are numerous subcategories of forbidden speech, known in Hebrew as onaat devarim, sheker, rechilut, lashon hara, avak lashon hara, motzi shem ra and more. These don’t have ready translations into English and each headlines an area that has many categories. They include truthful statements and lies, positive and negative words, discussions that are seemingly innocent and words meant to wound. However, although there are rare times when one is obligated to carefully share negative information or to sound harsh, the idea of casually talking about people and intruding into people’s lives is never seen as a desired behavior. Almost all words said in private conversation to friends and other people merit protection. Without that, one enters a Soviet style world where people are afraid to speak.

While I admit to picking up People magazine two weeks ago at the dentist’s office and enjoying the pictures of the new British prince, the idea of a magazine like that, which in itself is tame compared to other media out there, is unambiguously against God’s directives. Today, newspapers that like to think of themselves as sophisticated cover stories that used to be considered only tabloid fodder. Technology has increased the reach and power of peering into others’ lives in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Our society is awash in lascivious looks and prying peeks.

Even the sanctity of marriage is threatened by a society that salaciously pants for views into private relationships. No decent person thinks that marriage allows a man to physically assault a woman. This was the impetus behind laws that emerged from the 1970s on, declaring spousal rape a crime. But our cultural definition of rape and force is changing to the point that just about everyone is liable to be guilty.

There are things each of us do for other people. I put a smile on my face when I am in the supermarket because my having a difficult day doesn’t give me permission to bring down the mood of others around me. I dress in a certain way when going to a class to show respect for the other students and the teacher. I play a game of Candyland when my to-do list is overwhelming in order bring a smile to my granddaughter’s face.

And in a marriage, husbands and wives do things that they may not particularly care to do in order to please their spouse. All those things, but especially intimate ones, deserve the sanctity of privacy. Almost every word exchanged within a sacred relationship, like marriage and family, merits titanium protection. If at a future time the marriage sours, leaving animosity in place of affection, those things should not retroactively be labelled as forced. Details being flagrantly shared should make decent people recoil with disgust.   

Having intimate relationships outside of marriage is not encouraged by the Torah, but speaking about them compounds the wrong. If a man assaults a woman, that is a criminal act. But if a man and a woman engage in an activity, it is a dangerous thing to validate the notion that in hindsight one can declare oneself to have felt forced and gain instant sympathy status by blabbing about it. For years, society has mocked religious people by saying that what two people do in the privacy of the bedroom is no one else’s business. Now, that same society is promoting the idea that, retroactively, possibly scarred, scorned and rapacious women should be encouraged to make those actions everyone’s business. I worry that last week, I might have acquiesced in that idea.

It is difficult in an increasingly immoral society to cling to morality without withdrawing from that society. Withdrawal, however, means giving up and abandoning the idea of positive change or helping even a few people learn that there is an alternate, better, way of life. Like so many of you, I struggle to keep a moral compass without putting on blinders, a Herculean task.

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Land of Few Babies

May 3rd, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 18 comments

A lot has been written about China’s one-child-policy, a draconian government edict that has, as entirely anticipated decades ago by wise people (like my husband), led to a demographic crisis. First, China is about to have the oldest population in the industrialized world. Second, there are shortly going to be over twenty million single men desperately seeking wives they can’t find because they were never born. National and international implications notwithstanding, in an article on the subject in the Wall Street Journal, one simple idea jumped out at me.

It seems that when Beijing changed its policy in 2016 to allow a second child, it did not result in a rash of new babies. One person quoted said that even if all restrictions on family size were lifted, “China will learn what many other countries have learned—that it is much more difficult to get people to have more babies,” (than the other way around).

What struck me is how our complex world has transformed what used to be a fact of life – married couples have children – into a controversy. Scientific advances allow men and women both to avoid pregnancy without embracing celibacy and to imagine, often wrongly, that they can have pregnancy on demand. Social trends present children both as parental trophies and as impediments to living a fulfilling life. Having children, like marriage itself, is no longer a normal step on the road of life.

Government interference in family life takes many forms. In China, it was harnessed to lower the birth rate, a fact the government may now be ruing. In Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia having children was seen as doing one’s civic duty by producing future soldiers. Both Hitler and Stalin awarded  medals to mothers of large families. In the United States, misguided governmental policies encourage having children outside of marriage.

What, for centuries, had been the natural order of things has ceased to be so. While health and economic issues may have presented problems with having unlimited-sized families, children generally used to be seen as expected, needed and positive additions in a married couple’s life.

Today, manipulation of the natural order is the norm, though not without consequences as China and the rest of the world are discovering. Whether the culture is encouraging or discouraging pregnancy, providing government support to have or not have babies, or socially lauding or stigmatizing marriage and family, one of the most intimate of activities is being directed by public voices.

Outside of religious communities, large families are increasingly rare. There is little reason to assume that without family or cultural ties, unrelated citizens will, economically, emotionally and physically, care for the generation that preceded it. Looking at China’s looming problems head on may not be pleasant, but it is instructive.

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My wife wants me to get a toupee

April 25th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 28 comments

Dear Rabbi & Susan,

You speak and write a lot about Biblical marriage and while sometimes it sounds a bit too good to be true,  my wife and I largely follow your teachings.  We’ve had many issues crop up and we have often found answers in your work. 

But we have looked throughout your work and your website for an answer to the question that is causing some stress in our relationship right now.  We have both agreed to be bound by your answer as we want the contention to end.  Here is our problem.  I am balding.  No, that does not fully describe the situation.  From the beautifully full head of hair I proudly sported when we got married, I have now progressed to the point where, frankly, I am as bald as a billiard ball.  There I’ve said it.  It happened surprisingly quickly; I am not happy about it of course but I have accepted it.  I’ve even come up with some humorous lines to respond to my ‘well-meaning’ friends teasing me. 

Here is the problem.  My darling wife wants me to wear a hairpiece or to undergo a major hair transplant.  As I said, I am not happy about my new look, but I would be even less happy about trying to hide it.  I would feel ridiculous resorting to either a wig or hair transplants.  I think I am explaining my wife’s position by saying she feels that our marriage makes us indivisible and how I look affects how she feels just as she knows that I appreciate how she looks and the trouble she takes to look that way.  I think she feels that appearing next to me in public makes her look older though she hasn’t said that. 

If I have to do what she wishes, I will do so in good grace and accept it as I have accepted being bald.  I think if you both say that I don’t have to change the appearance that God has given me, she will also accept it and come to get used to my shiny new look.

We love your television show and appreciate all the teaching you do.

Sincerely,

Fred

Dear Fred,

This has to rank as one of the most interesting questions we have ever received. As we worked our way through it, we wanted to make sure that we knew what you were not asking as much as what you are asking. You are not asking about a marriage in which one spouse feels that the other is letting him or herself go to “pot.”  This too is an important question but it’s just not yours. 

We also want to commend you both on agreeing to be bound by the answer of a third party—in this case, us.  We too set up this kind of problem-solving-dynamic early in our own marriage.  The idea is that when a disagreement occurs, its resolution does not involve a “He won” or “She won” scenario. Instead, for the benefit of the relationship, and by virtue of your earlier agreement to be bound, the relationship wins.

Balding is not under your control. We might compare it to a woman’s hair turning gray. However, that isn’t even a fair equivalent because coloring a woman’s hair today is incredibly common and acceptable. It is also less invasive physically and emotionally than a wig or implants.  Your options are a medical procedure (transplants) or a toupee which is still the barb of jokes. So, your wife’s request is a big deal.

On the other hand, her feelings are also a big deal. Making one’s wife happy is serious business.  We know from how God created the human being that few things make a man happier than bringing ecstasy to his wife.  (Deuteronomy 24:5) This applies in the living room and kitchen and in public as much as in the bedroom.

From your letter it sounds as if you and your wife enjoy a good marriage. You don’t mention how long you’ve been married though you do describe how your balding occurred in the proverbial blink of an eye.  Many moons ago, I (RDL) shaved my head and removed my beard in anticipation of a sailing trip we planned to take together. It never crossed my mind to mention my plans to Susan.  Needless to say, with more experience, I would never make that mistake today since I have a better understanding of the stake each partner has in the other.   She was extremely uncomfortable getting aboard a 37 foot sloop with someone who looked like a stranger.  Might your marital problem go away on its own with the passage of time as your dear wife becomes more accustomed to your sleek and polished new look?

Here are five questions we would ask your wife to answer honestly (to herself or to a wise counselor). Is her discomfort only in public or is she feeling less attracted to you in private? Is she concerned with how others see the two of you or only with how she sees you?  Sorry to have to ask this but Is a great deal of her self-worth tied up in externals? Is this truly an isolated discrete problem or is it indicative of an incipient difficulty in the marriage? Is she having trouble dealing with seeing herself getting older and your changed looks aren’t allowing her to live under the illusion that she is still twenty? It is possible that we making a mountain out of a molehill, but we can’t make that decision.

Ideally, as we age our views of ourselves and the people in our lives should hinge less on the physical and more on the spiritual which includes the long term relationships and friendships we have forged. (We cover some of this idea in our audio CD Festival of Lights.) When a dear friend was in her eighties she once mentioned that when her (similarly aged) husband walks in the room she still sees the handsome naval officer she first met sixty years earlier. However, the times we live in emphasize the physical and material making it harder for us to make that transition.

As you can hear, we are tending to the idea that your wife should make peace with your new looks. We would recommend her acting as if she is proud to be seen with you until that becomes internalized. Feelings follow actions. However, we also think it is worth your taking the time and trouble to look into hair transplants and toupees, even if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you are indeed taking your  wife’s concerns seriously. Perhaps there has been great progress in the field that neither you nor we are familiar with. We wouldn’t reject an idea that holds importance to your wife without doing some due diligence.   

As an interesting aside, we read your letter the day that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Duchess Kate welcomed their third child. The press ran some pictures from previous years including one of the two of them at university graduation. It seems that Prince William and you have something in common! Perhaps if your wife begins to think of herself as Kate Middleton’s peer she will adjust more easily to your new look. 

Thank you for your kind words about our show and writings. We hope that something in our answer will be an asset to your marriage.

Best wishes,

The equally hair-follicle challenged Rabbi Daniel and his wife, Susan

PS: I (RDL) add, that it might be worth while mentioning to your wife that scientific studies reveal and experts confirm that bald men are smarter, stronger, more virile and have better eyesight than the hirsute!

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Are men serious when they say this?

April 17th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 25 comments

I am a 56 year-old woman who has never been married. I have recently decided that I would like to find a man and get married even in this later time of life. This surprises me because it was never really one of my goals to get married, but I have realized that I do not want to be alone for the rest of my life.

My question is this: I have signed up for a couple of dating websites. I also go on dates with people that I am introduced to from other people but I find this same issue that I am emailing you about.

What I have noticed with a lot of men around my age is they say they are looking for and still have not found “the one.”  I am surprised that I am running into this as these are men that should know by now that there is really no “one person” for another. I will acknowledge there are instances where someone finds their so-called “soulmate,” but I believe these instances are few and far between. But these men seem to think that they will find the one even this late in life and expect fireworks, etc. when they meet someone and life will be just all hunky-dory when they meet this special person.

In my opinion, they are acting like teenage girls.  What are your thoughts on this whole finding “the one” to marry? And how do I reconcile this in my head?  Do I just not even consider getting to know men who have this notion because truthfully I doubt if I would be “the one?”

Sincerely,

Julie G.

P.S. I realize now that I should not have waited so long to find a mate.

Dear Julie,

Your sentence, “In my opinion, they are acting like teenage girls,” gave us a chuckle though we realize that this isn’t a laughing matter. You are, of course, correct in recognizing that waiting for “the one” is a good recipe for staying single.

However, we would take a man’s statement about “the one” to be an opening comment rather than considering it a closing argument.  For instance, instead of dismissing the man who claims to be ‘waiting for the One’ perhaps instead keep the conversation going by saying, “I also used to think marriages are made by waiting for the one, but I have since learned that time is better spent trying to become the One.” 

If this waiting for the One is not coming up in conversation, but instead it crops up on an online questionnaire or in the first few minutes of meeting someone, we think it just might be an easy quip that could precede a deeper conversation.  (If it’s online, it could also be the easiest and best box to check even if it doesn’t actually describe someone’s thoughts.) We agree that spending a lot of time with a man who is waiting for fireworks and a symphony orchestra is a waste of time, but we would at least give time for a cup of coffee before deciding that this truly describes that particular individual’s  worldview.

In your lovely letter, you disclosed why you are now contemplating marriage; you don’t want to be alone for the rest of your life.  And presumably, you seek a man who also doesn’t want to be alone.  While the desire to avoid loneliness is a necessary precondition for marriage—even God said, “Not good for man to be alone”—it is not sufficient. 

Not being alone because you have a husband solves your need but in a very passive way.  Similarly, you solve his need but just by being.  Our question to you is what are you eager to do actively for someone else other than just being there.  In other words, we think your goal of changing your marital status could be more quickly achieved by contemplating what else would you be committed to adding to a man’s life.  Focusing on what you would give rather than on what you would take often propels the courting process into overdrive.  Another way of looking at it is asking yourself why a great man would be incredibly fortunate to be married to you.

We would also like you to ask yourself whether you are a very results-oriented and driven individual which may be causing you to come across as using too much of a businesslike approach to dating. We are all in favor of dating seriously (we prefer the term courting) however meeting someone with whom to share a life should not be confused with a job interview. 

We would encourage you to have a balance between wariness that keeps you emotionally safe and being too quick to close yourself to options. By the time anyone is in his or her late 50s there is a great deal of history that has led to formation of character. It takes time to begin to reveal oneself.

We hope you would consider becoming a resource for younger women in helping them understand the value of marriage earlier than you did.  Perhaps offer some lectures or classes on the topic at your church or community center.  Quite possibly one of those younger women you help might introduce you to your future husband.  Our guidance here is based on the ancient Jewish principle that again and again we see that people who help others solve a certain problem find their own problems being resolved.

We are actually a bit surprised that only in your 50s are you thinking that marriage has something to recommend it and wonder what led to that way of thinking. We are sure we are not the only ones who would be fascinated to hear you speak on this topic while you reveal yourself and your thought processes in a personal and practical way.

We look forward to your sharing good news with us,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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My husband is holding me back

April 10th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 23 comments

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

We have an opportunity to increase our family income by double. We currently make about 40K a year between my husband and I.

I was accepted into a one year program that would give me the skills and connections to make between 50-80k a year myself excluding my husbands income. We would have to move about 500 miles away from our families and where we were both born but only for a year and then we could decide where to go after that.

My husband doesn’t want me to accept. He isn’t one for change and hates California, he doesn’t want to live there even for a year… I want to honor him and I understand that making more than him could cause some strain on our marriage… am I wrong for wanting this? I’m trying not to be bitter… but I’ve always been a bit ambitious and the idea of turning this opportunity down has caused me some internal struggle.

Cynthia S. 

Dear Cynthia,

You sound like a sincere and sensitive woman who is trying her hardest to cope with a difficult challenge.  Our usual disclaimer applies even more to you and your dilemma:  Since we don’t know any of our ‘Ask the Rabbi’ letter-writers personally we can hope only to raise discussion points that will be helpful along with perhaps a few considerations that you may not have yet contemplated.  We also have great confidence in our readers and know that they often contribute valuable comments.  We always read them with great interest.

You clearly recognize many of the valid concerns involved, including some that conflict with one another. You are aware of the need to respect your husband and of the potential threat to your marriage that earning more than he does can impose. You are also aware of the importance of every individual, man or woman, making the most of his or her talents, abilities and opportunities.

A number of things are unclear from your letter.  You mention that between you both, you earn $40K.  Is that half each?  Or is it mostly your husband’s earnings or mostly yours?  A joint income of $40,000 doesn’t go very far these days, yet you don’t suggest that you are struggling. Is your husband on a path to higher earnings or is he content with things as they are?  Do you feel that you are more ambitious than he is?

You don’t mention children. Are you young newlyweds, an older couple without children or in some other category? Is your husband’s reluctance to move related to family issues (perhaps an ill parent) or simply a matter of personal preference?

Was your husband aware of and supportive of you applying to this program in the first place, or does he feel blindsided by you having been accepted? Do you feel that his objection is based mostly on geography or do you feel that he is also reluctant to see your earnings increase?  What is the basis of your relationship and what attracted you to each other? All of these are important questions to explore.

One more matter to establish is the legitimacy of the program itself.  How much will this program cost you?  Are you really sure that it will trampoline you to earnings of between $50K and $80K a year?  We don’t want to sound negative but our antennae were set jangling a bit by the term you employed in describing the benefits of the program, “skills and connections.”  Let us urge you to be very certain about this program.  You see, Cynthia, we just don’t know any educational programs that in only one year can qualify you for a job paying quite so much.  If it is indeed on the up-and-up, it must have a very long waiting list of eager applicants; in which case you are indeed fortunate. But if it is not, then all the other questions raised are irrelevant. 

Once you have satisfied yourself and your husband that this is a truly viable course of action, you have to arrive at a decision.  Like so many other questions that arise in married life how you arrive at a decision is far more important than the decision you reach.  The process of discussion that brings you to a decision can either grow your marital relationship or harm it. There isn’t a global right or wrong answer, only one that will be right or wrong for the two of you at this time in your marriage. You would both need to have Solomonic wisdom to handle the necessary discussions between yourselves alone. This is one of those times that we would certainly advise you to consult wise counsel. The catch, of course, is that the person whom you consult needs not to have an agenda of his or her own. That is harder to find today but it is crucial.  You should seek someone who can help the two of you understand and value each other and your relationship to a greater degree as you move toward a mutually acceptable decision. 

We wish you a bright, fulfilling, and prosperous future,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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Matzoh, Money and Marriage

March 27th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 20 comments

Here’s an unusual thought experiment: Imagine meeting a twenty-year-old man who is suffering from near total amnesia. He explains to you that he knows how to read and write, drive a car and live healthily, but has no idea at all of what he ought to be doing to prepare for successfully living the rest of his life.  What are you going to tell him?

Upon some reflection, I think I’d say to him, “There are two really important things that are vital for happy living and neither is intuitive, so I am delighted that you asked me.”

The two are money and marriage.  Nothing at all is taught about either one at GIC’s (Government Indoctrination Camps formerly known as public schools.)  Not surprisingly, the result is a huge number of twenty-year-old men who have never given a realistic moment’s thought to earning a living.  Public education’s indifference to marriage has also resulted in a significantly diminishing percentage of young men marrying.  If nobody teaches young males how money works and why marriage is important, how could they possibly know? 

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Can you do it?

March 22nd, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 21 comments

On March 3, 2018, Sir Roger Bannister died. As news of his death at the age of 88 hit the airwaves some might remember that this was the second time his death was publicly announced. 64 years earlier the young medical student became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. As he crossed the finish line in three minutes and 59.4 seconds on that momentous occasion on May 6, 1954, he fell exhausted to the ground. One Pathé newsreel report declared that he had died in his attempt to break the four-minutes-mile just as doctors had warned would happen to anyone who tried to do the impossible. The reporter quickly reversed himself when Roger Bannister triumphantly stood up.

One particularly amazing fact about the aspiring neurologist’s accomplishment was that his record was broken only 46 days later. In the following year, six more people broke the world record and today many college athletes run the mile in less than four minutes. Clearly, the human body is capable of doing so which begs the question as to why young Bannister was the first. He didn’t even have any particularly special training! Yet, his name is famous while the names of those who surpassed his record within only a few weeks and months have faded into oblivion.

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Is an age gap in marriage a problem?

March 21st, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 29 comments

When considering marriage: Is an age gap (10-15 years) a bad idea (specifically for a girl being the younger)?

Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

You have probably heard that a physician shouldn’t treat members of his own family and that a lawyer must recuse herself from cases that strike too close to home.

On that basis, we admit up front that we are not objective observers on this question since a bit more than ten years separates the two of us. It is with that awareness of some potential bias that we approach your question.

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Boats Float; Planes Fly; Couples & Businesses Crash

February 20th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 10 comments

One of the most sensually satisfying things I’ve ever done was building a seventeen-foot sailing boat out of oak and spruce, plywood and glue, bronze screws and canvas.  If I close my eyes, I can still smell the aromatic sawdust.  After eight months of part-time, loving labor, launch day was almost an anticlimax.  It floated, I climbed aboard, hoisted sail, and glided off across the lake. 

No surprise there; I had purchased plans from an accomplished New Zealand naval architect, Richard Hartley, and followed them diligently.  What is more surprising is that I later built another boat which also floated.  This one was nearly forty feet long and was constructed from steel and cement.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Its hull was a one-inch thick sandwich of steel and cement.  I was not at all surprised when, on launch day, it not only floated but floated exactly to its waterline which I had already painted in bright red on the hull. 

Why wasn’t I surprised?  Because I had purchased plans from a designer in Vancouver who was a recognized expert in ferro-cement boats and I had followed all details diligently.  What percentage of the boats and ships that are built by large shipyards or by serious amateurs float? Actually, about one hundred percent.

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