Health & Spirit

After the death of a loved one, everlasting hope helps us cope

Religion / God Squad /

Q: You wrote almost a year ago about your deep personal loss with the death of Father Tom Hartman. All who have lost such a close, personal, human connection -- whether family or friend -- understand something of what you feel. I wrote some time ago in response to a question you asked in one of your columns about the one question we would ask if...Read more

Time to play the name game

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Recently some friends and I were discussing name origins. In the long ago, we only had first names, like Herbert son of Michael or Herbert of Dix Hills. That got us to my question to you: How did Jesus of Nazareth become Jesus Christ? What is its meaning? Was Mary Magdalene from Magdala? I told my friends that this was a question for the sage...Read more

Spiritual moments of 2016

Religion / God Squad /

Here is my very personal list of my own four best spiritual moments of 2016:

1. My best friend, Father Tom Hartman, died. The angels were pulling him harder into heaven than we were pulling to keep him here with us on earth.

2. The bloody dust covered children, one on a bus from Syria whose name was Omran Daqneesh, and another of a dead baby ...Read more

Rack your mind for miracles and angels, and prep yourself to say 'I am here'

Religion / God Squad /

On this Christmas Eve, which is also Hanukkah Eve, I want to ask you a favor. I want you to call to mind and give voice to the miracles in your life. Some of you have written to me in sadness that no miracles have come to you. I would humbly ask you to go back and consider the angels and miracles that might actually...Read more

Alignment of holidays led to miraculous advice from my dear, departed friend

Religion / God Squad /

Leave some latkes for Santa this year

Next week, the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve will both fall on Saturday night, Dec. 24. This coincidence of Christmas and Hanukkah is very rare since Hanukkah is calculated on the lunar calendar and Christmas is ...Read more

Being able to let go is allowing God's will to become real

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I first want to start off by saying my mother-in-law and I read your column faithfully and every weekend we call one another discussing it. We are Catholic and really enjoy that you know so much about every religion and discussing things about it. We recently had to put our rabbit of 10 years to sleep. This rabbit was a huge part of our ...Read more

I always greatly appreciate letters from readers

Religion / God Squad /

I know I have people who read my words and I am thankful for every one of you. What I do not know and cannot know unless you write to me is how my words are being read and received. That is why the following email so touched my heart. To know that in some small way my heart words have entered another heart fills me with humble joy.


Dear...Read more

What I'm thankful for this year

Religion / God Squad /

One of my recurring rituals in writing this column is to devote the column before Thanksgiving to a list of people, animals, or things that we ought to give thanks for but don't -- or at least don't appreciate enough. As always I encourage you to send me your choices for the Thankful List.


This Thanksgiving...Read more

Tips from God to a child

Religion / God Squad /

Q: My grandson Aiden got an assignment to answer, "What is your duty to God?" He answered to take a shower every day, brush your teeth every day. I reminded him that he did neither every day and he giggled. Could you help us with your understanding what a 7-year-old boy's duty is to God? -- From J

A: Please tell your grandson that I could not ...Read more

In the wake of the election, take a moment to realize what is truly important

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Now that the election is over (and assuming that legions of lawyers haven't already ascended from below to object and contest) we now have a president-elect loathed by just under half of our country. I'm briefly fortified against misery since the Cubs won the World Series, but that feeling will soon pass, and certainly long before one of "...Read more

You can start serving God by being just, merciful and humble

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I have been reading your and your now-heavenly pal Tommy's column for years. I look for it faithfully each Friday and am grateful that my paper, The Palm Beach Post, continues to carry it. My question for you is based on a recent column re Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" lyrics. This may sound stupid or naive, but how do I, how are we, ...Read more

It's OK to love Halloween

Religion / God Squad /

Should religious folks celebrate Halloween? In answering this question I have a duty to my readers and a duty to my grandchildren, Zeke and Daisy. Spoiler alert: Zeke and Daisy are going to win.

First, some historical context. One of the great roles organized religion has traditionally played over the years has been the co-...Read more

An ode to Bob Dylan and the relationship between music and God

Religion / God Squad /

In honor of Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I wanted to offer some thoughts about the relationship between music and God.

To paraphrase Kant, faith without music is empty and music without faith is blind. Dylan understands this and it is the source of his power and his ...Read more

Don't be so quick to jump ship on your religion

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I am a 70-year-old white male. I was raised a Christian (Methodist) but never was really active in any church. My wife of 14 years left me over two years ago. I now live alone and I am saying aloud what I have thought most of my life: I don't believe that Jesus was God on earth but I do believe that what he preached is the way to live your ...Read more

How pretending can help you achieve your goals

Religion / God Squad /

Every year around this time I present a very scaled-down version of my sermon for the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This year's sermon is a tribute to Father Tom Hartman, may his memory be for a blessing. This is the most important thing Tommy ever taught me. It is a message for all people ...Read more

How America's unity is mistakenly being challenged

Religion / God Squad /

I received lots of very kind emails about my recollections of what I said at the 9/11 service at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 24, 2001. Among them was this heartfelt animadversion from J in Wyandanch, West Babylon, N.Y. about my quote from the Masai tribe, "Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. Sticks alone can be broken by a child."

--...Read more

Be grateful for any and all blessings God has bestowed upon you

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Upon celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary a couple may exclaim, "God has been so good to us!" My wife died after we celebrated our 25th anniversary. Should I say that God was not as good to us, or worse that he punished us? I know that the answer lies in the biblical story of Job, but I'm having a hard time applying Job to myself. Could you...Read more

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