TRENDING TODAY

The Birds, the Beasts and Me

Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People appeared years before Mark Zuckerberg elevated the importance of acquiring friends on Facebook.  Yet, most healthy people realize that collecting “friends” only to further your own interests or in a fake world has nothing in common with establishing authentic relationships.

Let’s see if we can get an insight into real relationships through an unexpected Biblical connection:

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field
and 
every bird of the air and brought them to Adam
to see what he would call them…
(Genesis 2:19)

God brought Adam two categories of creatures (i) every beast of the field; (ii) every bird of the air.

Next verse:

And Adam called names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air,
and to
every beast of the field
(Genesis 2:20)

Surprisingly, Adam named three categories (i) cattle, (ii) the birds of the air (iii) the beasts of the field.

We have a problem:  Not only does Adam reverse the order of birds and beasts, but he names an entirely new category—cattle.

As is so often true, the answers lie in the Lord’s language—Hebrew.

Here are the opening three words from Genesis 2:20.  I know you may not read Hebrew (yet) but gaze upon these words as graphic elements. (The middle word is Adam.)

ויקרא האדם שמות
And Adam called names

Now view the Hebrew names for the books of Exodus and Leviticus:

ויקרא           שמות
Exodus                  Leviticus

Do you see the similarities?  Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the answers to the mysteries of Genesis 2:20 can be found in the transition from Exodus to Leviticus.

The very end of Exodus describes how God cements his relationship with Israel by providing them with ever-present visible protection throughout all their journeys via Heavenly clouds and a pillar of fire. In response, Leviticus opens with Israel strengthening its relationship with God by bringing Him offerings. The Hebrew word used for offering or sacrifice is Korban which actually means ‘getting close’.

In other words, close and authentic relationships are brought about by giving to the other. Find ways to do favors for friends. (If you mistakenly think sacrifice has a negative connotation—as in, “Look how much I sacrificed for you,”—there is an entire chapter on the word Korban and the practical life applications of it in our book Buried Treasure.)

Giving a name is an intimate act of closeness.  When we address people by name, we initiate connection and acknowledge their individuality. Parents name newborns; lovers give one another pet names.  In naming the creatures, Adam is establishing a relationship between man and animals. Thus, he distinguishes between them, ordering them by degrees of closeness to humans. He first introduces a new category— cattle.  Cattle include those animals that work together with humans to the benefit of both.  Adam places birds next because birds bring music and color to our homes and gardens. Finally, he names beasts, those animals that avoid human habitation and with whom we have least relationship.

“Friending” people on Facebook is easy. Real relationships demands a ‘give and take’ relationship. We discover ways to do things of value for others  and are simultaneously willing to accept what they give to us.

Forging a special relationship with one individual in marriage is our most important bond. It is so critical, that God embedded directions for doing so in multiple verses at the beginning of Genesis. I explore these in depth of one of the four volumes of our Genesis Journeys Set. Each of these 2 CD audio volumes (8 CDs in total) go beneath the surface of Scripture, to provide practical guidance and life lessons to best understand and function in today’s complex world.

We had a wonderful month of holidays, but are also celebrating a return to full-time work with a deep discount on the Genesis Journeys Set. We hope you find them as powerful, entertaining and useful as we do.

Genesis Journeys Set

Save $20

Genesis Journey's Set Instant Download

Half-price Sale

No Tears for Hugh

While it is getting more difficult to find areas that unite people on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I think that neither liberal-leaning feminists nor conservative, traditionally minded women are shedding tears for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.  Before I proceed to destroy that Kumbaya moment, let’s take a minute to enjoy it.

Time’s up!

It is easy to focus scorn on the founder of movements you don’t like. I’m not a fan of Playboy magazine, Playboy Clubs or the Playboy philosophy that encouraged sexual liberation. However, the Hefner empire wasn’t built because the government forced men to purchase its products or forced women to participate in its businesses.  Men chose to buy magazines and become key-holders at the clubs; women chose to pose for the magazine and auditioned to work at the clubs. Many married women chose to either look the other way or chuckle when their husbands subscribed to Playboy and visited the clubs, sometimes even accompanying them. Lack of participation from either men or women could have derailed Hefner’s vision.

In 1963, Gloria Steinem took advantage of her figure and looks to go undercover as a reporter and describe the experience of spending a short time as a Playboy Bunny. Her exposé presents a rather unflattering picture of the men patronizing the club, but the women working at the club didn’t come off well either. About a decade later, Ms. Steinem founded Ms. Magazine and helped popularize the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” promoting the idea that men were fine for sexual fun, but there was no need for marriage.

In 1992, Hugh Hefner told The New York TImes how proud he was, “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.” Ms. Magazine acolytes may have despised Mr. Hefner, but they similarly elevated those very goals. I think it unarguable that Gloria Steinem is a talented and hard-working woman who has had an outsized effect on popular culture. She chose where to apply her influence.

Daphne Jackson, about two and a half years younger than Ms. Steinem, became the first female physics professor in the United Kingdom. She wanted to encourage other women to advance in science and engineering careers while being married and having a family. Realizing that women often took breaks for family reasons and needed retraining to get back into the field at a high level, in 1985 she began a fellowship supporting those women as they re-entered the workplace.

Today, unfortunately, there are still women who, at the same time as they righteously demand respect, treat their looks and figures as their greatest commodity. Both Hugh Hefner and Gloria Steinem supported the sexual revolution that gave that market an aura of respectability. There are also women devoting themselves to advancing science and engineering. Gloria Steinem’s work enlarged both those groups while Judith Jackson only supported the second.

Two intelligent women, both of whom felt that women should and could contribute their abilities to society to a greater degree than they were. Had Ms. Steinem joined Professor Jackson in enabling women to expand their academic and business opportunities without at the same time popularizing a sexual revolution, Hugh Hefner’s obituaries might be obscure side notes of history.

Once again, our site is closing for the final holiday days of this Jewish month, so there will be a delay in posting comments.

When our store closes for the holiday, our FREE book offer ends

Complete Library Pack PLUSLibrary Pack PLUS Free with purchase of either library packadded automatically at checkout Complete Library Package

Library Pack

How can I support Israel?

Hi Rabbi! I have been listening to your teachings for about 5 years and they are incredibly valuable! Thank you for your willingness to state the truth, even though it can be difficult for people to hear and is counter-culture. I have two questions totally unrelated to one another but both important:

1) Do you have an opinion on (name of ministry)?

2) Is there a recommended method for an individual to support Israel from US soil?

Thank you so much!

Carissa G.

Thanks for being a long-time listener, Carissa. We are very blessed with a wonderful large audience who is eager for the truth of how the world REALLY works even when the information causes cognitive dissonance.

You asked our opinion of a ministry. We aren’t comfortable answering that because it isn’t someone we know personally and, as such, we probably have less knowledge of the pastor than you do. The world is a very large place.

As for supporting Israel, at this time in history, supporting Israel has a lot in common with supporting America. Both countries are under assault and we all must refuse to be cowed and silenced by bullies. We need to speak up because what people around the world say about both Israel and America tells us more about them then it does about either Israel or America. That means that is is well worth making the effort to becoming educated and articulate on the topics. Make sure that the information you get is honest and fair.

We also need to make sure that young people are inoculated against vicious disinformation before stepping foot on college campuses and, indeed, to keep track of what they are hearing in high schools and at even younger ages. Here is one organization that works on college campuses and provides information as to what is happening there:

http://www.standwithus.com

One Israeli charity that our family personally supports provides services for victims of terror and their families.

One Family: Overcoming Terror Together

Website: http://www.onefamilytogether.org

Of course, visiting Israel is a wonderful way to show support and give yourself a real treat at the same time.

We are sure that prayer is already in your arsenal,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 *  *  *

Our special holiday offer of a FREE copy of The Skeptic and the Rabbi ends as we close our site and offices this Wednesday night through Saturday night for the final holy days of this special month in the Jewish year. 

Library Pack

Complete Library Package

Free with the purchase of either library pack. Added automatically at checkout.

Library Pack PLUS

Good Gracious, You’re Pregnant!

“Just five more minutes,” “One more chapter,” “I guess I can stay a little longer.” The temptation to stretch out an enjoyable activity just a little bit more is one to which we can all relate.

After a month of reveling in God’s closeness, culminating with the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the Jewish people felt the same way. In response, God granted them an extra holy day, Simhat Torah, that begins as Sukkot ebbs away (starting this year Wednesday night, Oct. 11). Literally translated as “The Joy of the Torah,” it is on this day that we conclude and begin anew the annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses.

That makes this week a particularly apt time to highlight the idea that the first time in Genesis that a specific letter is used to start a word, that word provides a key to the inner meaning of that initial letter.

Consider the first usage of the word good in Scripture.

And God saw the light, that it was good
(Genesis 1:4)

In Hebrew, the word for good is TOV.  Its initial letter TET is the ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, giving it a numerical value of nine. Since TOV is the first word in the Bible to start with a TET, the letter itself is linked to good. Elsewhere, ancient Jewish wisdom also links the number nine to pregnancy giving us the following equation.

TET = 9 = TOV = good = pregnancy

ט
TET

There is another place in the Torah where ancient Jewish wisdom focuses, not on the presence of the letter TET, but its absence. The thirteen verses containing the second appearance of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-18) contain at least one instance of every single letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Amazingly, the thirteen verses containing the first appearance of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-14) reveal one stunningly conspicuous exception.

The letter TET is completely absent from the first commandments!

Anything good endures forever, and Moses was destined to cast down and shatter the first two tablets of the Ten Commandments.  Had they contained the letter TET, representing the concept of good, they could not have been destroyed.  The thirteen verses comprising the second appearance of the Ten Commandments do contain the letter TET, because these tablets last forever.

What is going on?

The existence of the Ten Commandments and what they represent defines  a Biblical perspective of goodness. What good means to an ardent Islamic fanatic in Iraq is quite different from what good means to, say, a faithful Christian farmer and family man in Fresno. In reality, good comprises four categories of action.

  • Improving our relationship with God.
  • Advancing the interests of our families.
  • Advancing our financial interests.
  • Serving the interests of our friends and fellow citizens.

Time and energy invested in these four activities is good, carrying lasting impact, and is thus never wasted.

Pregnancy, and subsequent devotion to children, serves all four of these categories, making it in some ways the ultimate good. Through this medium we can

  • Become a partner in creation with God.
  • Promote family.
  • Have a worthwhile reason for gaining wealth.
  • Bless  society by increasing the number of well-raised and productive human beings.

In order to avoid a single wasted hour or a single wasted joule of our energy we need to strive to ensure that each waking hour is devoted to serving God, our families, our financial interests and God’s other children.

Simhat Torah, the festival of rejoicing in the Torah provides an incentive to begin looking at Scripture anew with deeper insights, more maturity and greater perception than last year’s study. If you would like to start afresh with understanding that flows from ancient Jewish wisdom, we recommend our money-saving and value-filled Complete Library Package and Library Pack PLUS. As an added bonus, when you purchase before our site closes for Simhat Torah this Wednesday evening (through Saturday night), we will automatically add at checkout a free copy of the new book, The Skeptic and the Rabbi so that even the enjoyable time you spend reading will further your knowledge of and connection to God.

 *   *   *

Offer ends when we close for the holidays on Wednesday evening

Library Pack PLUS
(best value)

Complete Library Pack PLUS

Get this book for FREE with the purchase of either library pack!

added automatically at checkout

Library Package
(great value)

Complete Library Package

 

THOUGHT TOOLS

  • The Birds, the Beasts and Me October 17, 2017 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People appeared years before Mark Zuckerberg elevated the importance of acquiring friends on Facebook.  Yet, most healthy people realize that collecting “friends” only to further your own interests or in a fake world has nothing in common with establishing authentic relationships. Let’s see if we can Read More

ASK THE RABBI

  • How can I support Israel? October 10, 2017 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin - Hi Rabbi! I have been listening to your teachings for about 5 years and they are incredibly valuable! Thank you for your willingness to state the truth, even though it can be difficult for people to hear and is counter-culture. I have two questions totally unrelated to one another but both important: 1) Do you Read More

SUSAN’S MUSINGS

  • No Tears for Hugh October 11, 2017 by Susan Lapin - While it is getting more difficult to find areas that unite people on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I think that neither liberal-leaning feminists nor conservative, traditionally minded women are shedding tears for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.  Before I proceed to destroy that Kumbaya moment, let’s take a minute to enjoy it. Time’s up! Read More

ON OUR MIND

  • What Happened In Vegas Did Not Stay in Vegas October 4, 2017 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. Its pulsating shock waves raced out across the country, whiplashing into every American heart. The very thought of that merciless rain of hot lead thudding into the flesh of unknowing innocents just elicits sad gasps of incredulous agony. It only took a few hours for the predictable Read More
X