Posts tagged " Samson "

Say Little and Lead Much

March 21st, 2017 Posted by Thought Tools 20 comments

Leaders enjoy many benefits.  People seen as leaders get promoted and opportunities come their way.  Parents whose children respect them as leaders have more functional families.   But how do you begin the process of getting others to see you as a leader?

We have all seen leadership in action.  Perhaps one participant at a meeting emerges as the clear leader of the group.  Or people listen more attentively to one person than to another.  Groups coalesce around the one individual who is regarded as more authoritative than anyone else.

I’m sure you’ve seen parents who enjoy such excellent rapport with their children that obedience is almost automatic.  It is clear that the children view the parents as leaders.  Authentic leadership skills that are effective in a work environment are also effective in a family or social environment.  We just need to know what these skills are.

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Wonderful Wives – Lesser Husbands

September 7th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

Wildly unpopular as the observation may be, the overwhelming majority of people who get into serious trouble with the police share certain important demographic similarities.  These three characteristics are the only ones that matter: these people are male, they are not married, and few were raised in a stable home environment by a mother and father married to one another.

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Hocus Focus – Wave Those Priests

March 8th, 2011 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

Artist Jacob Kurtzberg, later known as Jack Kirby, once told an interviewer that he was inspired to create the comic book character The Incredible Hulk after seeing a mother lift a car off her injured child.

Though I do not know that this was the event Kirby witnessed, the Associated Press reported a 1982 incident in Lawrenceville, Georgia in which Angela Cavallo freed her teenage son, Tony, who was crushed when a Chevy Impala he had been working on fell off its jacks. She lifted the vehicle enough for neighbors to pull Tony to safety.

I’ve heard so many accounts of people driven to superhuman feats of strength that I knew this must be well researched. Sure enough, in 1961 the Journal of Applied Physiology published a study entitled “Some Factors Modifying the Expression of Human Strength.” Apparently, certain drugs, hypnosis and yelling are among the stimuli that can temporarily boost human muscular strength by over 30%.

Wouldn’t it be useful to discover a way in which those of us who prefer not to indulge in psychotropic drugs or undergo hypnosis can nonetheless boost our strength?

Let’s glance at several Biblical feats of strength:

And Aaron shall wave the Levites….

The Levites purified themselves…and Aaron waved them…

(Numbers 8:11 and 21)

Ancient Jewish wisdom makes a point of noting that Aaron actually lifted and waved a large number of Levites. If Aaron only waved half the 22,000 Levites mentioned in Numbers 3:31, he would have had to lift and wave one adult male approximately every five seconds during about twelve hours of daylight. In the face of this almost unbelievable feat of strength and endurance, you would have expected the oral Torah to portray the waving as some sort of spiritual metaphor which would have made the entire account plausible. Yet it insists that Aaron, and only Aaron, was capable of this feat.

Similar discussions surround other feats of strength. Jacob singlehandedly rolled a massive stone off the mouth of a well, a stone that usually required many men to move it. (Genesis 29:8-10)

Ancient Jewish wisdom informs us that Jacob accomplished this task as easily as one removes a cork from a bottle.

Moses carried a heavy pair of stone tablets down steep Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 34:4) Samson uprooted, and then carried off the gates of Gaza upon his shoulders. (Judges 16:3)

In all these examples, the oral transmission makes no attempt to dismiss the stories as metaphors. Instead, we are instructed to read them literally in order to gain a glimpse into God’s guide to life that can help us all in our own lives right now and right here.

What is the secret? It is focus! That’s right, just focus. As a child, did you ever play with a magnifying glass? Holding it just right would focus the sun’s rays into a blazingly bright spot which could melt plastic and burn wood.

Similarly, focusing all of our mental and physical energy can allow us to achieve astonishing results. Jacob was utterly focused on supplying Rachel’s need for water. Moses was utterly focused on bringing God’s Torah to the Israelites, Samson was utterly focused on saving his people from the Philistines. And, yes, Aaron was utterly focused on worshipping God in exactly the way He instructed. Utter focus confers the gift of superhuman strength and endurance.

There are ways to train ourselves to focus. The martial arts expert’s blood-curdling yell as he strikes out is an example of one way. For most of us the goal is not smashing bricks or lifting up city gates but it is tackling the things we should do diligently and effectively. This can be done with focus.

Ancient Jewish wisdom regards the opposite of focus as laziness. The field (work) of the lazy man is covered with thorns, dilapidated and overgrown. (Proverbs 24:30-31)

Devoting a few minutes before the start of each work day to drawing on God’s limitless strength by studying His word is my secret of focus which I gladly share with you.

Reminder: There are a few more hours to get the 5 audio CD Biblical Blueprint Set before the price goes up this Thursday.

Believe It or Not

July 27th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

 

 

“What
do you do for a living?” asked my seatmate on the flight to Dallas. “Well,” I
responded, “My wife and I create unique and terrific products that make ancient
Jewish wisdom accessible and useful to everyone. How about you?”

 

He
answered, “I’m an accountant and I can’t wait to retire.”  I told him how sorry I was to hear that and
why I wrote a book starting off with why one shouldn’t describe one’s
occupation as “making a living” and ending with why one shouldn’t retire.

 

We
both enjoyed the remainder of the flight discussing how important are the
beliefs you hold about your work. 
Extracting a Bible from my briefcase, I showed him the following account
from the book of Judges, chapter 16:

 

When
Delilah entreated Samson to share the source of his strength, he lied to her
saying that if the Philistines shackled him with wet string his strength would
fail him.    When she persisted, he lied
again.  If only she would bind him with
new ropes, he explained, he would be like other men. She continued nagging and
Samson explained that if his hair was braided he would weaken.  For the third time he lied to her.

 

Delilah
persevered.  Finally, exasperated, Samson
truthfully said that if his head was shaven, his strength would leave.

 

Delilah
saw that he had told her all that was in his heart

(Judges 16:18)

 

Why
did she believe him?  After being lied to
three times, she should have been highly suspicious.  Yet, Delilah was so confident, that she
summoned the Philistine officers to witness Samson’s fall.

 

Contrast
Delilah’s credulity with Jacob’s reaction to his sons:

 

And
they told him that Joseph was alive and that he ruled

over
all Egypt but his heart rejected it, for he did not believe them
.

(Genesis 45:26)

 

Earlier
in Genesis 37, the brothers misled their father into believing that Joseph was
dead.  Not surprisingly, when they
returned from Egypt to announce the astounding news that Joseph was alive,
Jacob was skeptical. After lying, most people are not believed.

 

Yet,
the question remains. How did Delilah recognize that Samson was finally being
honest while Jacob did not believe that his sons were telling the truth even
though they were?

 

Ancient
Jewish wisdom points out the most important distinction between the two
examples.  Samson knew he was lying when
he gave Delilah three false explanations for his strength.  However, when Joseph’s brothers allowed Jacob
to draw the conclusion that Joseph was dead, they actually believed that to be
true.  After all, what chance of survival
did Joseph have upon being sold as a slave in Egypt?

 

There
are two kinds of liars: those who know they are lying and those who believe
their own lies.  Joseph’s brothers
believed their own lie thus Jacob had trouble discerning when they spoke truth.

 

Samson
knew that he was lying to Delilah those three times, which made his truthful
statement sound quite different.

 

Polygraph
machines or lie detectors are used by law enforcement agencies because people
who know they are lying have physiological reactions which can be detected.  These subtle body signals can also be sensed
by some people.  However, it is almost
impossible for polygraphs or sensitive individuals to detect a lie when the
liar believes what he is saying to be true. 
Belief is so powerful that it can even make a lie behave like the truth.

 

Happily,
the power of belief can be harnessed for good. 
A coach uses it before a game when he helps his team believe it will
win.  To be successful, sales
professionals must believe in the quality and value of their product or
service.  To thrive in our professions,
each of us needs to believe in the value and morality of how we spend our days.
Work is not simply what we do as we aim for retirement.

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