Rabbi Daniel Lapin

A Passover Song

Guests constantly visit my study and though I talk to them, sometimes quite loudly, they are strangely invisible to everyone else. One frequent visitor is my father. His presence helps me prepare speeches. When the ideas flow too slowly or I find myself struggling to memorize a difficult paragraph, I invite him in. He knows...

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Trial by Mouth – originally published Jan. 28, 2009

    Celebrity endorsements can mean a great deal to a company. So we thought it a tremendous coup when Illinois Governor (though probably not for long) Blagojevich give an unsolicited plug for our audio CD, Perils of Profanity: You Are What You Speak. After all, while the governor is not being impeached for his vulgar...

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Wind in Your Sails

There are many life-metaphors to be found in the wonderful world of boats. Boats and people both embark on journeys and both can reach their destinations or sink. When a boat is in the doldrums it is in that notorious windless zone near the equator. Old-time sailing vessels were often stuck there for weeks. When...

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Theopolis Americana

I love this season.  I don’t celebrate Christmas but I respect it and enjoy its sights and sounds.  I enjoy the music in the malls. I enjoy the lavishly lit displays and colorfully decorated homes.  All this is far more noticeable in cities than in remote rural areas. Cities are places where the highs are...

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Open Up

 “I had to let three of my people go last week” she told me, “and you have no idea how miserable I have been.  I wish I could get toughened up so I could do whatever is necessary without feeling such pain!”  “No, you don’t,” I replied.  “In these frightening financial conditions, you may have...

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Whale Oil or Olive Oil

Tonight we light the 8th and final light of Chanukah. Chanukah serves as an antidote to one of the most oppressive sensations that torments us all—shortage.  We agonize over shortage of money, space, love, health, and friends.  Scarcity is even promoted as a part of the sacred sacrament of secularism. It is indeed the rightful...

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Prosperity Power

Tonight, I will not be counting my money by the light of the Chanukah candles. Nor will I do so on any of the remaining evenings of this eight day festival. Unlike the Sabbath candles or the candles for other holydays, these Chanukah flames must not be used for any other purpose.  For instance, you...

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No Thank-you

My wife and I love receiving the thank-you notes a friend sends whenever she is a guest at one of our Shabbat meals. Unlike typical thank-you cards, hers detail the experiences at our table.  She mentions the delicious food, the scintillating conversation, and the stimulating company.  (I am quoting from a recent note she sent!)...

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Leave Your Baggage Behind

It was profoundly disturbing when a member of my congregation told me that he didn’t care that his father had just passed away.  They had been estranged for years, he explained. For my part, I encouraged him to observe the traditional mourning routine, but my words fell on deaf ears. During the following six years...

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Excuse Me, God

“Do you have any questions for me?” I asked the applicant for a position in my organization.  “Yes,” she responded.  “How many vacation and sick days do I get each year?”  Needless to say, she got none from me. There is a right way and many wrong ways to interview for a job.  The right...

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