Skip to content
August 22, 2013 / Rabbi Laura

Elul, Paperclips and Staplers


Are you a paperclip or a stapler?

My dear friend Melissa Anton Frey, Director of the URJ Kutz Camp, never uses paperclips.  It has been a source of ongoing humor and numerous conversations between us.  Why, might you ask, does she avoid the paperclip?  Because, she believes, we have to commit.

Paperclips are temporary.  They can easily be removed. Paperclips are emblematic of a lack of commitment.

Staples, on the other hand, require conviction.  They ask you to make a commitment to what you are doing.

Thinking about the challenges of change, I was reminded of this paperclip vs stapler debate.  It occurred to me that we each approach change as either a paperclip or as a stapler.

The paperclip approaches change tentatively.  The paperclip has an escape, can turn back if things aren’t going as desired.

The stapler jumps in to change.  The stapler is all in and will stick to it not matter what. The stapler will see things through till the end.

Change is hard.  Whether its moving, leaving a job, making a transition in a relationship, or even something as simple as getting a new hairdo. It can be scary. It can be invigorating. It can lead us to question and doubt.  It can be grounded in faith and assurance.

Are you a paperclip or a stapler?

%d bloggers like this: