Rabbi Brian’s Public Diary

RABBI BRIAN’S PUBLIC DIARY   2019: ISSUE...

God is Not An Ass

God is not an ass. (Love as much as you can.) In...

Bible Conspiracy

Dan Brown's conspiracy book "The DaVinci Code"...
Seeking non-rationally.

Seeking non-rationally.

We think, most of the time, with our normal, rational, everyday mindset because that's how we are accustomed to thinking. We are masterful at logical thought. And, why not? We get the most out of this world by thinking rationally. Who could fault us for wanting to use...

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Be the lighthouse.

Be the lighthouse.

Things I have learned in the past week. 1) Disappointment hits hard. I am sad that my son and daughter will have a different future than the one I envisioned. I had wanted them to have a childhood in which a woman was a president. I didn't get what I wanted. I...

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Accept (them) without exception

Accept (them) without exception

The spiritual-religious notion of acting where one can and accepting where one cannot is transcultural. In the 1st century, Epictetus wrote Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva said...

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Busy, Hurrah?

Busy, Hurrah?

#wisdom_biscuit: Be more. Do less. Henry David Thoreau wrote: It is not enough to be industrious. So are the ants. The question is, what are you being industrious about? With what do you fill your time? I mean, if you were to look at your life and what you do, what do...

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That one thing. Do it.

That one thing. Do it.

Words from the prophet Rumi: There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life....

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What’s it worth?

What’s it worth?

What is it worth? For years, I have taught a gem from the Talmud that addresses worth: Who is rich? Whoever is happy with what they have. Pirkei Avot 4:1a Isn’t that brilliant? If you are content with what you have, you are wealthy. My students, in return, have taught...

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Measuring Wealth

Measuring Wealth

What’s it worth? For years, I have taught a gem from the Talmud (Pirkei Avot 4:1a) that addresses worth: Who is rich? Whoever is happy with what they have. Isn’t that brilliant? If you are fine with what you have, you are wealthy. My students, in return, have taught...

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Zinnias vs. Regular life

Zinnias vs. Regular life

  It is amazing how quickly our moments of wonder, enjoyment, connection, and love fade. Yesterday, I was eating a truly delightful honeycrisp apple. The red surface, I noticed, was far from monochromatic – on it were a multitude of tiny, but exceedingly green...

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Love Suffering, Less.

Love Suffering, Less.

#wisdom_biscuit: May your suffering always be less than your pain. My dear friend Nagy died in June. I’m broken up by it. Still. Months later. When I learned about it, I recorded a raw video about the stages of acceptance. Finally, I’m able to write about what he...

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Be forgiving. Of yourself. And others.

Be forgiving. Of yourself. And others.

I received a text message from my buddy, Fritz. It was typed in letters from the Hebrew alphabet. But it was neither Hebrew nor Yiddish; it was Ladino. Just as Yiddish evolved from Middle German being written in Hebrew letters, Ladino is a similar blend of old Spanish...

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Be kind to yourself. And others.

Be kind to yourself. And others.

Be kind to yourself. And others.  #wisdom_biscuit: Be forgiving. Of yourself. And others. I received a text message from my buddy, Fritz. It was typed in letters from the Hebrew alphabet. But it was neither Hebrew nor Yiddish; it was Ladino. Yiddish evolved from...

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Fighting with love.

Fighting with love.

I'm sitting in my garage. I'm shaken. Anti-Semitic and racist hate was written on the driveway outside my garage door this morning. Its 3 1/2 hours later. The enormity of what I have seen is catching up to me. I'm sitting on a stool. Typing out this message on my...

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Scary, not scared. And certain uncertainty.

Scary, not scared. And certain uncertainty.

#wisdom_biscuit: You deserve to be less scared.  Scary, not scared. And certain uncertainty. We live in a scary time. Of course it is scary. This is an election year, and the leadership of the most powerful country in the world is about to change. We are going from...

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God is not cisgender

God is not cisgender

#wisdom_biscuit: If you can easily put it in a box, it isn’t God. Terms The modern word cisgender means with the same gender from conception/birth. Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The Latin prefix “trans” – as in the words transport, transition, and...

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God is not cisgender

God is not cisgender

#wisdom_biscuit: If you can easily put it in a box, it isn’t God. Terms The modern word cisgender means with the same gender from conception/birth. Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The Latin prefix “trans” – as in the words transport, transition, and...

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Me in a dress in church

Me in a dress in church

I used to regularly attend Sunday morning services at my friend Larry's church. Once he remarked that he thought it was wonderful that he could hear me singing the hymns along with everyone else. I said, "Larry, why would I not the sing the words of the hymns with...

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Discerning and Judging

Discerning and Judging

Discerning and Judging Don’t always believe what you think In my classrooms, on either side of the board, there were always two little figures that I had cut out of paper. The letter “D” was written on one, and the letter “J” was written on the other. These two little...

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Apology from Organized Religion

Apology from Organized Religion

I’m sorry. An Apology from Organized Religion AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is an update of something I wrote in 1998, the year I was ordained as a rabbi. I was searching for a different document on my computer, and, voila, I found this. I’ve edited a little. (I’ve gotten to be...

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Dealing with 💩 it.

Dealing with 💩 it.

Dealing with 💩. How to better tolerate life How to deal with bull, crap, bunk, drivel, gibberish, guff, hogwash, nonsense, rubbish, baloney, bosh, bunkum, flim-flam, hokum, hooey, malarkey, moonshine, phooey, and poppycock. In our lives, we must tolerate and accept a...

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Anger

Anger

Anger How to. How not to. We all sublimate. It’s just something that we as adults do. We sublimate our feelings, our emotions, and our actions. We neither emote nor lash out when we want to. There is a reason for this. There is a reason we all sublimate. We have to....

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Larry. Easter. Life after death. Jews. And me.

Larry. Easter. Life after death. Jews. And me.

Larry. Easter. Life after death. Jews. And me. by Rabbi Brian Best friends I am on the phone with my best friend. He is a retired minister. Larry has preached the Gospel more than 62 years. He is the nicest man I know. I love him. I met Larry 18 years ago when he...

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How To Deal With Impossible People

How To Deal With Impossible People

The very first step The very first step of "how to deal with impossible people" is one that most of us forget. Answer the question: Is this something I want or need to do? Is this "impossible person" someone you have to deal with? If the answer is yes, then continue...

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Mystics. (You are one, most assuredly.)

Mystics. (You are one, most assuredly.)

Mystical Experiences Mystical experiences have been studied since the early 1900s. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) famously studied them at Harvard University. It was their study of mystical experiences that led them to experiment with LSD....

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Justifying (my) Anxiety

Justifying (my) Anxiety

Justified Anxiety “I moved to New York City for my health. I’m paranoid, and New York is the only place where my fears are justified.” — Anita Wise Until September 2015, I had a classroom to set up and run. Students coming and going, names to learn, procedures to...

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Enough

Enough

ENOUGH! In these wisdom_biscuits I write about various topics, including surrender, love, perseverance, and hope. I write about these topics so I can keep them in the forefront of my mind. After all, what better way is there to learn about something than by teaching...

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Your Anger? No, no thank you.

Your Anger? No, no thank you.

How to Handle Other’s Anger  Don't take the gifts.  This is a story I learned from my dear Buddhist friend, Nagy. I published it, without the commentary back in 2011: A woman's son left her to become one of the Buddha's disciples. She confronted the Buddha and...

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God is. God is not. And you.

God is. God is not. And you.

  The 77% Weekly 40/52 weeks a year of spiritual nutrition RabbiBrian & Religion-Outside-The-Box   When say "this is something," we thereby limit the 'this' as synonymous with the something. Therefore, we ought take care using the verb "to be" when...

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Towards smiling inside

Towards smiling inside

Dying/smiling inside, smiling/dying outside My friend Guff sent me a cartoon in four frames. The first frame shows a corpse-like body sitting up in bed. Next, the corpse-like body is standing in front of a closet filled with what look to be identical people suits. In...

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Diamonds or Virtues. Pick.

Diamonds or Virtues. Pick.

Father Tony<http://www.demellospirituality.com> believed that the shortest distance between two ideas or two people is a story. His tales were drawn from all sources and they spoke to all people. The following is an adaptation of a tale I heard from this...

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Intelligent Heretics: Choose (Faith)!

Intelligent Heretics: Choose (Faith)!

Intelligent Heretics: Choose (Faith)! Are you growing? I know I am. The words of Thomas Merton: “If the you of five years ago doesn't consider the you of today a heretic, you are not growing spiritually.” — Thomas Merton My theology feels far from the thoughts I had...

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Why you believe what you do…

Why you believe what you do…

Epistemology: why you believe what you believe (And how to game beliefs to work for you.) My son When my son was four, he announced that Santa wasn’t coming to our house. This was not because we don’t celebrate Christmas and Santa. We do. He knew exactly what...

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No Complaints

No Complaints

If you stop complaining, you might live with fewer complaints. The 21 Day No-Complaint Challenge Back in 2007, I realized something was odd. We had returned from a family cruise, and when I told people about it, I kept hearing myself tell stories only about what went...

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Responsible. Here. True.

Responsible. Here. True.

Responsible. Here. True. (Answers to the first three questions of the Bible.) The first three questions of the Bible are of great significance to me. Before I continue, let me explain my thinking about the Bible, albeit quickly and (perhaps a little) crassly: no one...

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Make Friends Better

Make Friends Better

On the 10-year anniversary of the newsletter, in late July of 2015, I sent a quick email expressing my gratitude for all of the readers. And in it, I asked people to partake in a little exercise of thankfulness. I want to elaborate on this gratitude process which has...

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The Joys of Not Knowing

The Joys of Not Knowing

We know less than we thought. (Rejoice!)   About not knowing With the possible exception an audience at a magic show, most don’t like the feeling of not understanding how (or why) things happen. For this reason, many magicians are wise to craft their art as...

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Radical Sufficiency

Radical Sufficiency

Human nature seems such that we’re never truly satiated or satisfied with our life experiences. The status quo is never quite good enough. We want even our best moments to be repeated, repeated again and then improved. We want to live in an eternal, exaggerated state...

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Right, wrong, easy, hard.

Right, wrong, easy, hard.

Lao-Tzu, the Taoist philosopher responsible for Tao Te Ching is credited with these words: Unawareness of one's feet is the mark of a pair of shoes that fits. Unawareness of the waist is the sign of a belt that fits. Unawareness of right and wrong is a sign of a mind...

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Love

Love

Love L-O-V-E in four parts My best friend, Dr. Larry Keene, is a retired sociology professor and minister. We have performed countless weddings together. And, often, he gives a homily during the ceremony about the four components of love. Larry told me that he learned...

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Addicted

Addicted

Our commonly discussed addiction include: Drugs Alcohol Cigarettes Shopping Internet / Electronics Food A simple, usable definition of addiction is “a compulsive behavior that gives short-term pleasure and is known to have long-term negative effects.” I don’t suffer...

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Think(less) Emotions

Think(less) Emotions

One night last winter, my wife and I put our then five-year-old daughter, Annie, to bed. We followed our typical bedtime routine, but unlike other nights, she was a bit upset when we left the room. We tagged teamed, going back in a few minutes later. Usually, after...

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A Fluid Relationship (without stereotypes)

A Fluid Relationship (without stereotypes)

A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted by a specific type of individual but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality. Examples of stereotypes are Cheap Jews Jewish grandmothers Jewish mothers Police at donut shops The word stereotype comes from the...

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Helpless without love.

Helpless without love.

Innocents massacred in Paris. Black lives trivialized. Gun shootings. Undesired refugees drowned. Reactions to recent, horrifying current events run the gamut of negative emotions. Sadness, anger, and blame surface as do ridiculously simple explanations and...

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Believe in Dog!

Believe in Dog!

Believe in Dog! This is the story I shared at the start of the High Holy Day service I ran. It is based on a joke that appeared in Field and Stream magazine and is also in a book by Anthony De Mello. A man trained his dog to fetch and retrieve almost anything. They...

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Anxcitement

Anxcitement

Turning anxiety into excitement. Part two. I recently wrote an article recently about how we can turn anxiety into excitement. In summary: Physiologically, anxiety and excitement physiologically are quite similar (sped-up heartbeat, shallow breathing, sweating), but...

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Bonus Issue: Celebrating ROTB

Bonus Issue: Celebrating ROTB

Bonus Issue I want to share a celebration! The meaningful Bar Mitzvah service I ran for James Franco got a glowing write up in the Jewish Journal. This experience got me thinking about a lot of things. (One of which is that I have been thinking about celebrity and how...

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Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Here is video that my uncle Ira took in 1982. It's nothing you need to see. It shows me eating lunch with my cousin Josh. My sister and cousin Leslie are in the video. As are my father, mother, and Aunt Linda. https://youtu.be/Y7l-aACIIwY I don't remember any of this....

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Q
&
A

“Do you need another email?”

No. You get enough emails already. Probably you don’t need one more email. In fact, you probably need to get fewer emails, not more.

“Do I really have time to read a weekly newsletter about spiritual-religious health? Might signing-up for this newsletter make me feel guilt in some way? What’s the catch?

Think about my 10-year old and his guitar lessons. He practices, if I exagerate, 30 minutes a week total. His lesson is 30 minutes a week. So, all told, he touches a guitar fo an hour a week. Now, think about you and your spiritual practice. Might you consider reading the newsletter to be your guitar lesson. What you are getting by subscribing to the newsletter is the chance to spend 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a month to your spiritual practice. Do the math, you have 15-40 minutes of time you are starting at a screen to devote to your spiritual well-being. Also, as I know that people don’t learn in guilt, I am both dogma and guilt-free.

“Why 77% Weekly”

I send it every Monday morning, except the last Monday of the month. 52 weeks a year – 12 last Mondays = 40. 40/52 is 77%.The newsletter got it’s name. I think you work too much. Many of us do. (You probably agree.) So, I want to remind you that you only need a 77% to pass.

“I thank you?”

I really didn’t know what to put in that button. “I thank you” seems appropriate. After all, albeit small, you are trusting me. So, for that I thank you.

Few problems are solved by an email your in-box.

This is an exception.

40 curiosity-satisfying, soul-nuturing messages from rB
Plus $130-savings on patience

Wonderful! You did it. Look for an email soon! (Unless you want to work on your patience, of course.)