rabbi lapin

Sleep in the Bed You Make

I never knew what the job of ‘community organizer’ entailed.  I knew what a bus driver, a plumber, a bookkeeper, or a ballerina do. But, what does a community organizer do?  I found out by reading a little book called Rules for Radicals written by Saul Alinsky, a Chicago political activist.  (And no, I’m not...

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Viva La Difference

Walking past a house in drought-stricken California lately, I noticed that the homeowner had replaced his front lawn with artfully arranged colored gravel. White and reddish-brown stones were arranged in a sharply delineated wave shape covering his front yard. Sometime later I happened to be passing the same house and paused again to admire the...

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Esther’s One-Two Punch

What do toddlers and sales professionals have in common?  No, this isn’t the latest riddle from your in-flight magazine. The correct answer is that both employ profound psychological principles to project their wills.  Toddlers do so instinctively while sales pros do so after sophisticated training. But we all can use these timeless truths to practice...

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I Win – You Win – We All Win

Would you enjoy working with an investment advisor who is paid for the number of trades she recommends whether or not you make any profit? What do you think of a teacher who is paid even if his students learn nothing? Would you frequent a store that charges you for trying on clothes whether or...

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Feathers and Fashion

A beautiful pine tree stands outside my window, obviously irresistible to a pair of woodpeckers.  That towering evergreen makes me happy but so do those two birds.  Whenever I hear the familiar rat-a-tat-tat, I look up with a huge grin in the hope of catching a glimpse of the feathery miscreants.  The male sports splendid...

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Well, Meet My Father-in-Law

Having debuted in 2006, Psych is the USA cable network’s longest running original series.  It is set in Santa Barbara but for reasons having to do with production costs and trade unions, the series is filmed in Canada.  The scenery is recognizably coastal British Columbia, which my family and I know well from our summer...

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“He doesn’t treat me with respect,” she complained bitterly.  What exactly does she mean?  Did he fail to rise from his La-Z-Boy recliner when she entered the room?  Did he speak to her brusquely or patronizingly? Without further explanation, it’s difficult to know whether he’s a lout or whether she is excessively demanding. The Hebrew...

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Up, Up and…Israel?

We are in the midst of a month of holy days! As the Feast of Tabernacles begins this week, our office and store will be closed from Wednesday evening through Saturday, 8:05 p.m. Pacific Time. This week’s Ask the Rabbi will go out Saturday night after that time. ____________________________________ I write these words while gazing...

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Do You Hear Me?

It makes sense to live life cautiously.  Rational thought precludes taking risks.  Reason suggests that we carefully weigh all options and avoid stepping onto any path whose outcome cannot be clearly seen.  This safe approach reduces the likelihood of wasting one’s time and money, or harming one’s health.  It certainly has merit. However, if the...

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Time for Happiness

Susan and I wish you all a Shana Tova U’Metuka, a sweet and wonderful year, as we celebrate Rosh HaShana, the head of the year 5774.  Our office and store will be closed as we observe this holyday starting this Wednesday evening and continuing through Saturday  8:30 p.m. Pacific Time. This week’s Ask the Rabbi...

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