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# 35 / 40 – November 2007

Gift Formula.                                            

Since we are about to embark upon gift giving season again, I thought it would be good idea to share a mathematical formula that Todd Quinto of Tufts University helped me come up with with regard to the value of gifts.

(During my undergraduate studies-at which time I thought I was taking high-level math courses thinking I would be an architect-Dr. Quinto was one of my favorite professors. He specializes in tomography which involves finding densities of objects from data such as X-rays from a CT scanner. Plus, he’s really smart and nice.)

Keep this in mind when you shop for gifts this season:

The value of a gift is dependent on the cost ($) of the gift, the time (T) put in to making it or picking it out, plus the love (L) that the giver has for the recipient.

In mathematical-ese, it looks like this:

Value of gift = g ($ + T + L)

It behooves us to keep in mind that gift giving is not about the amount of money that we spend. It’s actually about the thought behind a gift and the esteem the receiver has for the giver. This is why handmade gifts from children are so cherished. And it’s what The Beatles were singing about in their song, Can’t Buy Me Love.

The societal pressure to be good consumers will tell you otherwise, but the heart of the matter is that giving from the heart is what really matters.

Happy giving!

With love,



Rabbi Brian

P.S. If you’ve never heard of “Buy Nothing Day” this link will be of interest.

A web version of this article is available here.
This article was also posted at Street Prophets.

The 77% Weekly


The 77% Weekly: The Religion-Outside-The-Box Newsletter
helps people find and be with (the) God (of their understanding) 40 out of 52 weeks a year.

Why 77%?
Two reasons:
1) 40/52 = 0.76923 and it is sent every Monday except the last of each month.
2) In school 77% was a passing grade and ROTB wants to remind you that life isn’t graded, it’s pass/fail.


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