Thought Tools

Never Marry Your Aunt

One of my least favorite laws was the National Speed Limit law of 1974 that mandated 55 miles per hour as the legal maximum. Government assured us that it would save gasoline that, back then, we were lining up at gas stations to buy at, gasp! 55 cents a gallon. Of course the law did...

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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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Year of the Squirrel

Sleep, not hibernate. What happens if you extract a little blood from a hibernating ground squirrel, preserve it till the summer and inject it into another squirrel? That active little mammal with his bushy tail will instantly go into hibernation. We don’t clearly understand if cold weather sets off the chemical changes in squirrel blood...

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Ancient Solutions for Modern Problems

That material was taught to the Israelites during forty years in the desert; history’s longest graduate school program. Let’s imagine that you made some incredible discoveries of inestimable value. Recognizing that children are your link to immortality, you desperately wish to be sure that your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and further, will be able to use the...

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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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Don’t Go Bananas

Our bodies need potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.  The good news is that a banana supplies about 10% of the potassium we need each day.  The bad news: potassium is toxic.  Potassium poisoning is called hyperkalemia, not a pleasant condition.  Before throwing out all your bananas, read on. Tenure made...

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Get A Head

You know those Rube Goldberg complicated contraptions that employ a long chain of mechanical levers and other devices to do something mundane like striking a match? We love watching them, partially I think because so much in life tends to camouflage cause and effect. When we watch a three minute process of rolling balls, falling...

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Never Marry That Boy

Why do so many women make such bad mistakes about men? Some date purposelessly, often wasting far too much time on a man who will never marry them.  They devote themselves endlessly to men who as boyfriends make them miserable, and who as husbands would make them even unhappier.  Ever confident of their ability to...

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Welcome to the Upper Class

Some Republican politicians shock me when they make statements like these. “My tax plan will benefit the working class.” “We must show how much we care for the poor.” “It’s not only the rich who’ll benefit…” “We don’t have to worry about the upper class.” “Crime is concentrated among the lower class.” By adopting the...

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Grab That Ox

Almost everyone can tell when a synagogue or a church is in the final stages of decline.  The impending extinction is usually caused by changing neighborhood demographics or sometimes by a leadership crisis but the signs are always conspicuous.  Diminished attendance; few young women, a sad-looking facility showing signs of neglect. A roof needing repair,...

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