Posts tagged " Tabernacle "

What an overreaction!

June 22nd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“What an overreaction!” This exclamation came from a man who consulted me about some business problems. He was alluding to a former customer of his who angrily left him for a competitor and also bad-mouthed him to others. “We were late on a delivery and off he went on a rant,” he continued. “What an overreaction!”

My gentle questioning revealed that my client had not personally called the aggrieved customer to apologize nor had he offered any kind of compensation. But what was far more interesting was that I discovered that this occurrence was not the first time my client had delivered appalling service to this customer. It was not even the second time. It was the third. (more…)

Success You Can Smell

March 13th, 2012 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

I really hope that my children think of their childhood with the same sweet nostalgia that I do. Whenever the Lapin family embarked upon a trip, it was usually with at least fifteen suitcases, all of which needed to be loaded into our van. Though I could have done it myself quite quickly, we patiently waited while our young son laboriously loaded every piece of luggage, many of which were larger than he was.

My wife always shared the preparations for the Sabbath with our daughters, assigning some children to set the table while others cleaned the house until it shone. Planning menus and cooking were group efforts as well. Especially when the kids were very young, she could have prepared the house and meals for our family and our guests far more quickly herself.

By contrast, researchers recognize that generally, American children ignore or resist appeals to help. According to a recent UCLA study, compared to other countries and cultures, and even more importantly, compared to how we Americans used to raise children, parents today are focused on what they can do for their children and don’t think about what their children can do for them.

Were my wife and I taking unseemly advantage of free labor or doing our children a favor? Let’s look at a precedent from God.

From the moment they left Egypt the Israelites grumbled about almost everything.

…Why did you bring us out of Egypt

(Exodus 14:11-12)

The people complained against Moses saying what shall we drink?

(Exodus 15:24)

…the Children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron…

(Exodus 16:2)

The people argued with Moses…give us water

(Exodus 17:2)

They gathered against Aaron…make us a god..we don’t know where Moses is

(Exodus 32:1)

Eventually God told every person to bring of his possessions and get to work building the Tabernacle. This construction project and the service therein occupied the Israelites for many years and the complaining just about ceased.

After nightfall on Saturdays my family gathers for Havdalah. With this service we bid Shabbat farewell for another week and prepare ourselves for six days of productive endeavor. During the brief ceremony, we celebrate our sense of smell enjoying the fragrance of some spices, often cloves and cinnamon.

When a festival terminates, we also conduct a Havdalah ceremony but without any blessing on smelling the spices. Why the difference?

Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that, amazingly, in our world, the actions of humans leave a longer-lasting impression than God’s actions. For instance, Mt. Sinai (where God acted) is largely unknown, whereas Mt. Moriah (where Abraham, Isaac, David, and Solomon acted) is still visited by pilgrims after 3,000 years. Ancient Jewish wisdom further explains that smell is the sense that most strongly links to our memories. I am sure you can think of smells that immediately transport you to images of your childhood.

Sabbath was scheduled every seven days by God but we Jews were commanded to set the dates of the festivals by our own calculation. Linking the Sabbath to a smell prolongs the sensation of that day. Since festivals have a human component, no fragrances are necessary for them to cling to us even after they are over.

We are more lastingly impacted by the things we do for God like building a Tabernacle than by the many things He does for us. The children of Israel appreciated God more, not less, by giving of themselves for His structure. Likewise, our children are more lastingly impacted when they participate in family life, rather than just being recipients of parents’ beneficence.

You can use this information to change important things in your own life. The problem is, you feel shackled to the status quo. It’s like an invisible force imprisons you, yet you yearn to escape. Passively waiting for God – or other people – to solve our problems isn’t the best way to activate change. There is a God-given solution in my audio CD Let Me Go: How to Overcome Life’s Challenges and Escape Your Own Egypt. We’re discounting it online this week so that it is easily accessible to help you change your life. I’d like you to take advantage of this offer now!

Cause AND Effect

September 28th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

 

Earthquakes?  No, they do not occur because the gods are
angry.  They are caused by stressed
tectonic plates suddenly shifting.  One
great gift of science is cause and effect, which means that things don’t just
happen.  For every effect, there is a
cause. There is no need to ascribe natural events to vengeful deities.

 

But
science itself was one of the great gifts of Biblical faith.  It can hardly be a coincidence that over 90%
of the scientific, medical, and technical discoveries uncovered in the one thousand
years between 900 and 1900 came about in the Judeo Christian cultures of Europe
and North America though they contained only a small proportion of the world’s
population.

 

In
these cultures, the well-known sentence, “In the beginning, God created heaven
and earth,” helped propel western scientific discovery. Firstly, it linked God
and nature, encouraging men and women to seek deeper insight into the Creator’s
design by studying heaven and earth.  Secondly,
it suggested that nothing is random.  God
banished chaos and replaced it with fundamental cause.  Not surprisingly, advances in the natural
sciences exploded among those people possessing this enormous cultural
advantage.

 

But
Biblical culture helps us understand everyday life too.  Knowing that causes are connected to effects points
us towards wise decisions and helps us respond prudently to life’s
circumstances. 

 

Reading
about political and labor problems in Southern Africa tells us that the price
of chromium will rise, resulting in higher prices for stainless steel and
everything made of it.  Recognizing that
how a child is treated will affect what type of adult he becomes, encourages us
to take care of our marriages and families. 
Everything we do brings consequences in its wake as does anything we
neglect.

 

We
do best by becoming adept at seeking out context and connection for almost
everything.

 

This
simple but vital message emerges from ancient Jewish wisdom’s observation that
more than half the verses in the Five Books of Moses begin with the Hebrew letter
vav’. When used as a prefix in the
Lord’s language, this sixth letter of the alphabet translates as the word, ‘and’. 

 

The vav's shape graphically calls to mind a hook or a nail.  What is more, with characteristic elegance reflective
of timeless truth, the name of this letter, vav,
means a hook or a connector, the very function of the word ‘and’. 

 

Through
the lens of ancient Jewish wisdom, the Tabernacle that Moses built and which
the Israelites carried with them through the desert for forty years was not
only a House of God but also a spiritual metaphor for understanding the
world.  It is this aspect of the Tabernacle
that imbues even its picayune details with significance.

 

Scripture
describes how much silver was used in the Tabernacle construction:

 

And the silver
collected via the congregational census

 was 100 kikars plus 1,775 shekels….

(Exodus 38:25)

 

A
kikar consists of 3,000 shekels. Why didn’t the Torah just list
the total amount of silver as 301,775 shekels?

 

It
turns out that the 1,775 shekels of silver had a very special role.
Three verses later we learn:

 

And from the 1,775 shekels
of silver he made
vavim.

(Exodus 38:28)

 

 

Vavim is the plural of vav, meaning he made hooks — fasteners
or connectors.

 

Thus
we are told that the entire physical Tabernacle is held together with vavim, connectors. Rather than being an
insignificant part of the structure, they are enumerated in a way that
highlights them. The spiritual metaphor tells us that the whole world is held
together by vavim; ‘ands’.

 

If
we see events and ideas in isolation, we make a great mistake. Most verses in
the Torah begin with ‘and’ in order to train us to look forwards and backwards
– what did we do in the past that led to where we are now and how will our
future be affected by what we are doing in the present.