rabbi lapin

Color My World

It is true that there is no specific ancient Jewish wisdom on how The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind effectively ended the era of black-and-white movies when they were released in 1939.  But the Torah does teach the permanent principles of color. It even teaches why different colors impact us in different...

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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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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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America and the Jews

This morning, Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel delivered a historic address to the Congress of the United States of America.  He alluded to the face of Moses staring down upon the chamber but neglected to mention that Moses is the only face depicted full-on rather than in profile.  Moses enjoys special placement in America’s...

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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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The Pen Is NOT Mightier than the Sword

If the pen really was mightier than the sword, the idiom would be unnecessary.  Nobody says, “Atom bombs are stronger than paper clips” or “Ferraris are faster than Fiats.” Most simple slogans are untrue.  “He who hesitates is lost” is contradicted by “Look before you leap.” “Out of sight, out of mind” is contradicted by “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  The truth...

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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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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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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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Bones in Israel

The 100 million Moslems surrounding Israel often escalate their oft-stated desire to destroy six million Jews into action.  They dispatch murderers into Jewish neighborhoods, they launch sudden street attacks, and they shoot thousands of missiles into Israel’s population centers.  However, life in Israel continues.  Behold the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Psalms 121:4)...

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