Posts tagged " thou shall prosper "

Perhaps Love

June 25th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

If you know what your car engine sounds like when running normally, you will instantly pick up early signs of mechanical problems. If you know the sound your baby makes when he’s hungry, you will immediately recognize a cry of pain. Departure from pattern is a warning sign.

In forensic accounting, false expense submissions are often picked out because the culprit tends to make up numbers randomly. However, in the real world there are predictable patterns regarding the occurrences of various digits (The interested can pursue this phenomenon by exploring Benford’s Law). Departure from predictable patterns alerts us to something possibly significant.

The Lord’s language, Hebrew is a beautifully precise language, often conveying not only the meaning of the word but also the emotion behind the meaning.

Consider, for instance, the word “perhaps”; on the surface, a simple word. It indicates that something may or may not happen.

Now consider these two sentences:

Looking at the man she loved, Jane wondered to herself, “Perhaps he will propose to me this evening.”

Tom ruefully contemplated his dismal sales reports and realized that perhaps he faced termination.

From the point of view of Tom and Jane’s emotions, those two underlined words mean two very different things. Jane hopes that something wonderful will happen while Tom dreads the possibility of something awful happening.

However, in Hebrew, there are two different words for perhaps. The word ULai is used in circumstances when the speaker devoutly wishes for the event to occur, while the word PeN is used when he hopes it won’t.

Perhaps (ULai) there are fifty
righteous people in the city [of Sedom]…

(Genesis 18:24)

…now let us go there, perhaps (ULai)
he’ll tell us the road…

(I Samuel 9:6)

And from the tree in the middle of the garden, God said you shall not eat of it or touch it, [or else] perhaps (PeN) you’ll die.  
(Genesis 3:3)

Come let us deal wisely with him
[or else] perhaps (PeN) he’ll multiply and
when war comes he will join our enemies…

(Exodus 1:10)

Once we understand this difference, we can be alert for any examples in Scripture when it appears that the wrong word is being used.

When Abraham dispatches his Chief of Staff, Eliezer, to find a bride for his son, Isaac, we spot such an unexpected usage.

Abraham directs Eliezer to travel to his birthplace and bring back a bride. Eliezer reasonably inquires what is to be done in the event of a problem.

…perhaps the woman will not be willing
to follow me to this land…

(Genesis 24:5)

Since this would be a most undesirable outcome, we’d expect Eliezer to have used the word PeN. Yet, inexplicably he says ULai.

This informs us that deep down, Eliezer desired his mission to fail. He subconsciously hoped that no girl would come back with him to marry Isaac.

Why? Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that Eliezer had a daughter of marriageable age. He was harboring the hope that his master, Abraham, would say, “Eliezer, you have a lovely daughter, I have a wonderful son…”

When Abraham didn’t suggest this, Eliezer forlornly held one remaining hope. Perhaps no woman would be willing to accompany him to Canaan. Perhaps then Isaac would marry his daughter.

Abraham’s next words dashed his hopes by making clear that Eliezer’s daughter was not an option for Isaac.   It is to the credit of Eliezer that after this big disappointment, he nonetheless carried out his mission faithfully and successfully.

Once we know the general rules, any departure from those rules attracts our attention like a flaring Fourth of July firework rocket arcing through a dark night sky.

For this reason it pays to know the rules; knowing how the world REALLY works makes it easy to spot exceptions. Spotting exceptions helps provide early warning of forthcoming problems whether in business or in social interactions. Forty rules of how the world REALLY works form the basis of my new book Business Secrets from the Bible-Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance. Join my many friends who have already elevated the trajectory of their earnings. Loving money is a bad idea but making money is wonderful. I’d like to see you (or someone you care for) make more money. Can I send you your own copy of Business Secrets from the Bible?

Business Secrets from the Bible

 

Trust, Ownership, Decency

June 17th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Is it a coincidence that countries with healthy Jewish populations tend to enjoy far greater economic success than those without?  King Edward I expelled the Jews from England in 1290.  For about two hundred years prior, England’s economy had been growing dramatically with Jews playing a significant role in the development of silver mining, currency and banking.  With their departure, the English economy went into decline.

In his wonderful book, History of the English Speaking Peoples, Winston Churchill explains that as bankers and lenders Jews held the mortgages on a great deal of English land on which they had loaned money to the crown or aristocratic landowners. Edward I realized he could transfer all those instruments to himself by expelling the Jews.  He did exactly that. It may have helped Edward but it hurt the country.

Almost immediately, English economic vitality plummeted.  Twenty five years later there was a terrible famine that decimated the population.  For about 350 years England’s economy languished, only to recover when Oliver Cromwell encouraged Dutch Jews to move to England.

A similar scenario played out when Spain expelled its Jews in 1492.  After centuries of glittering economic prowess, Spain went into decline. Though the expulsion order was officially revoked in 1968, until very recently Spain never invited its Jews back and it remains one of the most conspicuous failures of the European Economic Union.

The truth is that when countries expel Jewish Biblical values by adopting socialism, either through revolution as in Russia, China, and Cuba or through a sad slide as in a number of European countries and perhaps even the United States, their economies fade and fail just as surely as did those of England and Spain.

Conversely, countries that reopen themselves, at least on some level, to Biblical values, inevitably see their economies begin to thrive.  Think of South Korea.  China has definitely become more open to Christianity with over a hundred million Christians and, not surprisingly, a rapidly growing economy.  The jury is still out on Russia but I am seeing a new openness towards Christianity and Judaism in that troubled land so I expect to see their economy starting to improve quite noticeably.

In my resource package, The Income Abundance Set, I explain this far more extensively and with far more attention to practical suggestions for your life.  However, for the purposes of this Thought Tool let’s examine three characteristics that traditional Jewish values impart to the culture in which they live.  Trust. Ownership. Being nice.

Trust:  When a Jewish merchant in Amsterdam shipped goods to a co-religionist in Paramaribo he could be confident that when the ship arrived, he would be paid.  When Quakers established Barclays Bank in London at the end of the 17th century, people deposited money because Quakers who adhered to Biblical values were trusted.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the first question we will all be asked when we arrive in judgment before the Heavenly Throne is “Did you conduct your business affairs in a trustworthy way?”   Trust flourishes among those guided by principles such as exact weights and measures from Leviticus 19, leading to prosperity.

Ownership:  The Torah has many laws that only make sense in a culture that allows individuals to own property.  For instance, we are warned against infringing on the boundaries of our neighbors’ property. (Deuteronomy 19:14). The Tenth Commandment prohibits us from even wanting other’s property.

Though King Ahab angered the Lord greatly by worshiping the Baal idols he was stripped of his kingdom only after he stole Navot’s vineyard.  (I Kings 21:19)

Decency: Admonitions that include being kind to the orphan and widow, not gossiping and being grateful are incumbent on each individual. Not surprisingly, people prefer dealing with others who treat them kindly, courteously and considerately.

Business means serving others in exchange for their payment and being in business incentivizes us to become a little more trustworthy, more aware of the importance of people’s possessions, and a little more kind, courteous, and considerate.  Truly, if we are faithful to God’s system, doing well is proof of doing good.

Right now the most devastating obstacle to increasing your income is when you subconsciously buy into today’s relentless cultural message that having a lot of money is evidence that you’re not a good person.  The only way to expiate your sins, they tell you, is for the government to take more of your money in an effort to introduce the fairness that your success violated.  Unless you can extirpate this belief from your heart, your efforts will be handicapped.   Please get hold of my Income Abundance Set while there’s still time to make 2014 a great year.  Discover ways to counter the anti-business psychology while learning dozens of real-life business applications from ancient Jewish wisdom that have helped Jews succeed at so many different times and in so many different places.

IncomeAbundanceSet, March 2014

Sleep in the Bed You Make

May 27th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

I never knew what the job of ‘community organizer’ entailed.  I knew what a bus driver, a plumber, a bookkeeper, or a ballerina do. But, what does a community organizer do?  I found out by reading a little book called Rules for Radicals written by Saul Alinsky, a Chicago political activist.  (And no, I’m not sure what activists do either.)  At any rate, Alinsky explained that a community organizer should “…rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.”  Okay, now I know.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that one definition of wisdom is being able to learn something from everyone.  I guess I’m not so wise because I am not sure what I could learn from community organizers.  However, I know I have much to learn from bus drivers, plumbers, bookkeepers and ballerinas. Around Memorial Day each year, I think about things I learn from soldiers.

This year, I learned from the head of Special Operations Command, Admiral Bill McRaven, why soldiers always make their beds first thing in the morning.  Here are his words from his Commencement Day speech at the University of Texas:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.  If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

He got my attention as the Code of Jewish Law opens with the words:

One should be as strong as a lion in rising in the morning
for the service of one’s Creator.

(Shulchan Aruch 1:1)

Don’t just rise in the morning like a lion but rise in the morning like a lion for the purpose of serving one’s Creator.  The question is, how do we best serve our Creator?

Here is one clue:

Cursed be he who does the work of the Lord negligently…
(Jeremiah 48:10)

According to ancient Jewish wisdom, this verse means that anyone who fails to satisfy his employer or customer with speedy and diligent service is cursed. (Midrash, Tana D’vei Eliyahu Rabbah)

What a stunning insight! Taking care of our customers, clients, and employers is doing God’s work!

Interestingly, an English word that describes taking care of business speedily and diligently is enthusiastically.

Here is the etymological source of the word enthusiastic.

From the Greek “entheos” meaning inspired by God.

Admiral McRaven had it just right. Being diligent in the tasks we undertake in our day, even ones that seem minor, leads us to end our day looking back at a string of accomplishments.  When we recognize that performing work for which we are paid is God’s work, our accomplishments grow even more.

I know that it utterly changed my life when ancient Jewish wisdom first taught me that taking care of my boss, my customers and my clients is also serving God.  It transformed workdays from drudgery to ministry.  It transformed servitude to service.  It transformed lethargic indifference to passion and enthusiasm.  As a side benefit, I started making much more money.

That’s God’s work.  Contributing to other people’s lives.  It might even be the life of your commanding officer.  If you’re a bus driver, plumber, bookkeeper, or ballerina it’s very clear how you help other people.  Community organizers? Not so much.

Some people tell me that they want to offer their services to others but don’t know how. Others fumble job interviews or excuse themselves as simply not “people people.” Then there are those who have great business ideas but can’t interest others in them and those who insist that they work hard but don’t seem to be progressing.  For all of you, I recorded my 2 audio CD set Prosperity Power: Connect for Success. Starting your day listening to these CDs as you make your bed, work out or travel to work will propel you to do enthusiastically what is necessary to power up your work life.

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Two by Too(th)

May 20th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

A dear friend who pastors an inspiring church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex wrote me asking about the significance of various numbers in ancient Jewish wisdom.  Since he will be marrying soon, two seemed an appropriate number to explore.

The first time a word occurs in Scripture provides deep insight, so we need to know the first time the number two appears.  (Hebrew grammar causes earlier appearances of two to have variant forms.)

shnayim, two cropped

 And of all that lives, of all flesh, two of each you shall bring into the ark to keep alive with you, male and female they should be.
(Genesis 6:19)

 This reveals that the fundamental “two-ness” in the universe is male and female.  Since the ultimate act of human creativity is creating a baby, we understand that two people can be far more creative than merely one, particularly if there is a male/female dynamic.  However, two men or two women can have a male/female dynamic as well, for example in brainstorming a business idea.  At any given moment one of the participants, whether male or female biologically speaking, is implanting the seed of an idea while the other is absorbing it.  A moment later they exchange roles as the conversation continues.

Another aspect of the number two is that the Hebrew root of two = tooth.

tooth shen, croppedEven the very sound of the English word “tooth” carries within itself the sound of the number two (2-th). This highlights the point that two things complement one another.  We have both upper and lower teeth and we need them both.  Having only upper teeth or only lower teeth is worse than having no teeth at all.

One of the best Biblical examples of two is the Two Tablets that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The Bible rarely refers to the Ten Commandments but calls them the Two Tablets about thirty times.  This is because the quality of two they possess is so important.  The two tablets complement one another and make it possible for us to create our moral matrix by consulting them both.

[There is so much vital information for our lives (and the life of our nation) buried in the Two Tablets that I created an audio CD linking the respective pairs of commandments such as one and six, two and seven. In a stunning transformation, this converts Ten Commandments into five fundamental principles of human interaction. If the feedback I get is representative, you too will be amazed at how these commandments will come alive as you listen.]

Lastly, the Hebrew word for two is the same as the Hebrew word for years. This informs us that there is some common feature linking the concept of two to the idea of years.

Each passing year naturally possesses similarities to its predecessor on both a global and very personal level.  Nonetheless, nobody experiences two successive years as being identical.

Similarly, when we think of the power of two we think of two things close enough to be counted together, but not so identical as to be duplicates.  Our spouses are incredibly close to us, we can often complete their sentences.  But they are also sufficiently different to make the connection meaningful.  I may consult two books for guidance in repairing my plumbing.  They will both be about the problem I am experiencing but, to be helpful, each should tackle the project in a different way.

We understand that if we wish to change our oneness into a two, whether in seeking a spouse or a business partner, we need to find someone close and similar but not identical.

Essentially, the number two speaks to the fundamental duality which is so much a part of life.  Day/Night.  Good/Evil.  Man/Woman.  Light/Darkness. Plus/Minus.  Hot/Cold.  Yes, many things do exist on a spectrum, but they are easier to analyze and understand when we know the two dualities that anchor the ends of the spectrum.

I hope that this will be useful to our pastor friend who will soon be marrying.  I know it will be useful to you as you form relationships both social and business and as you explore how the world really works through Bible study.

Read more about our Ten Commandment CD here.

Ancient_Jewish_Wisdom combo 1 and 2 pic   10 commandments cover5

 

 

Three Wise Men

April 29th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

What if I told you that you could change how intelligent you are – or your children will be? Perhaps you’re saying, “That’s ridiculous. IQ is immutable and unlikely to be altered by one’s behavior. Or maybe you’re saying, “I don’t know, but if it’s true sign me up!”

However you may have reacted, I hope you’re intrigued enough by this proposition of ancient Jewish wisdom to try it out for size.  I think you’ll be surprised at how precisely it accounts for your experiences in the real world.

We read of three men whose wisdom was admired and whose guidance and leadership was sought: Joseph, Daniel, and Mordechai.  Each withstood alluring attempts to get them to abandon restraint.

Watch Joseph as his employer’s wife, by all accounts a most attractive woman, tries to seduce him.

…after these things, his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, lie with me.  But he refused… ‘[saying] because you are his wife, how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’  And she spoke to Joseph day by day but he did not listen to her to lie with her or be with her. 
(Genesis 39:7-10)

Soon after, we find that Joseph’s wisdom and leadership qualities become evident to all.

And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find anyone like this man in whom the spirit of God is’?  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In as much as God has shown you all this, there is none so smart and wise as you are you shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled.’
 (Genesis 41:38-40)

We encounter Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in the court of King Nebuchadnezar.  The Babylonian King, intending to entice them into the Babylonian aristocracy, arranged for them to be fed his royal, but unkosher, food.

And the king appointed them a daily portion of the king’s food, and of the wine which he drank; and to bring them up during three years, that at its end they might stand before the king.  Among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
 (Daniel 1:5-6)

Refusing to surrender their Hebrew identity, the four heroes requested a purely vegetarian diet (which is by definition kosher).  The king’s steward, nervous about disobeying the king and being held responsible for the four Jews’ not looking well fed, hesitated.  Daniel made this suggestion:

‘…test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us only vegetables to eat, and water to drink then let our faces be looked upon before you, against the faces of the other young people that eat of the portion of the king’s food; and according to what you see, deal with your servants’.  So he consented to them in this matter, and tested them ten days and at the end of ten days their faces appeared better in appearance…
(Daniel 1:11-15)

After resisting the appeal of the king’s food, Daniel and his colleagues became recognized for wisdom:

And the king talked with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
 (Daniel 1:19-20)

Finally, we meet Mordechai who refused to bow to the wicked Haman. Each day, courtiers tried to persuade Mordechai to submit.

It came to pass as they spoke daily to him and he did not listen to them, that they told Haman…And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow, nor did him obeisance, then was Haman full of wrath.
 (Esther 3:4-5)

Though it would have been so much easier to submit to Haman, Mordechai stood firm, loyal to his spiritual identity.  Not surprisingly, as the book ends, we read:

And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordechai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?..Mordechai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus…
 (Esther 10:1-2)

What phenomenon is playing out in all these cases? Leviticus 11:43 sheds light.

Vayikra 11-43 754x288

…nor shall you make yourselves impure with them [forbidden non-kosher foods] that you should be made impure by them.

The underlined Hebrew root for impure is  טמ  pronounced TaM

Ancient Jewish wisdom asks what the repetition of the root word TaM adds to the verse. The response is that in addition to impure, the word also means unintelligent, dull  or– dumb. In fact, T’ and ‘D’ are both dental consonants, produced by placing the tongue behind the upper teeth causing considerable etymological ambiguity between these two letters.  Many scholars believe that the English word ‘dumb’ derived from the Hebrew source TaM.

dumb, impure 500 pixels

The message is that yielding to pressure, including bodily appetites, reduces the chances of a happy and fulfilled life.  What is more, submitting to hedonistic urges gradually makes one stupid.  If practiced multi-generationally, it eventually produces very dumb people.  The process of exercising restraint and saying ‘no’ makes people smarter and better suited to leadership.

In other words, adhering to Biblical faith, its rituals of restraint and its principles, is a key to wisdom, leadership and success.  This is an inconvenient truth because so many who have cast their lot in with the camp of the secular fundamentalists, America’s current government-sponsored religion, are dismayed to discover the very real and practical benefits of the twin Biblical faiths, Judaism and Christianity.

These benefits occur in both the social and economic arenas. My books Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money and Business Secrets from the Bible give practical, concrete guidance for applying these spiritual success strategies to your financial life. This is a great opportunity to invest in yourself as well as to bless a soon-to-be graduate. Help them enter the real world with Godly wisdom on their side.

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… my spirit recognized new truths in your teaching. I am grateful.   Cathy P.

700 Club Clubbed

April 8th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

The aftermath to my appearance on The 700 Club with my friend Pat Robertson last Monday astounded me.  Like noxious mushrooms after a rain, articles suddenly sprang up condemning Pat for something people thought he said, and condemning me for not condemning him.  Also, I received a bunch of negative communications, almost all of them from self-proclaimed Jews.  I find myself sadly amused by hostile letters written to a rabbi that are filled with Yiddish curses.

They ranged from one or two politely critical ones to the majority, featuring vile and vulgar expletives about me and my family; two contained explicit death threats.  I am not complaining, I’m a big boy and can take care of myself.  I am accustomed to telling the Truth and living my life accordingly in spite of the anger this occasionally generates among fervent and extremist secular fundamentalists of all ethnic backgrounds.

What drives people with extremely limited data to rush to judgment and quickly criticize, condemn, and excoriate others?  What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt?  I think it is collateral damage from the retreat of religion.  I believe that it is Biblical wisdom that lubricates human social and economic interaction and when that becomes eroded, people rush to judge one another harshly.

…in righteousness you shall judge your friend.
 (Leviticus 19:15)

Still, this is a bit vague. After all, what does ‘righteousness’ really mean?  Fortunately, ancient Jewish wisdom tells us about very important paragraph markings that can be seen in a traditional Torah scroll.  These divisions provide a graphically visible separation of a Torah column into specifically related topics. This verse is part of a paragraph which includes another verse:

…and you shall love your friend as you love yourself
(Leviticus 19:18)

Thus we see juxtaposed two parallel ideas (1) judge one another righteously, and, (2) love one another as you love yourself.

In other words, judge others the way you’d like them to judge you—giving the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, those who wrote angry denunciations were rushing to draw the very worst of conclusions.  They were hardly judging the way they’d like to be judged themselves.

I do have to say that the impact of these few vitriolic letters was utterly overwhelmed by the colossal cascade of positive and enthusiastic letters from friends and fans who saw the 700 Club interview on CBN.

Which brings me to an interesting aspect of most of the vituperative letters: most of those who scrawled them did not bother to view the twenty-minute show.  They wrote to me after reading Internet reports written by ideologues not shy about their hatred for religious conservatives such as Dr. Robertson and me.

Disregarding the obscenities and threats they contain, these letters revealed that their authors view Pat Robertson as virulently anti-Semitic and me as a hateful and unworthy member of the Jewish people for associating with him.

Let’s see what the interview was about and what Dr. Robertson actually said.  We were discussing my new book Business Secrets from the Bible which is a sequel to the best-seller from 2002, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money.

In this new book, I reveal forty business secrets from the Bible, but in a short interview, I focused on only a few examples.  One of which was that many start-up entrepreneurs mistakenly try to do everything themselves.  I explain that you should try to do those things that only you can do while hiring others to do everything else.

Attempting a humorous example, I observed that you seldom find Jews tinkering with their cars or mowing their lawns on weekends.  I did not say that there are no Jewish lawn landscapers or Jewish car mechanics.  That would be nonsense; like other successful groups, Judaism does not view any form of work as menial.

My point was that auto-mechanics should hire plumbers to fix their water pipes, and lawn maintenance specialists should hire auto-mechanics to fix their cars.  This frees each to become more competent in his own field and better able to serve his fellow humans.  I explained that not only would my mechanic repair my car more competently and more quickly than I could but that in the time he did so, I could probably make more money than he would charge me if I applied myself effectively to my own trade.

During the 700 Club interview I mentioned the Biblical foundations for this principle of the morality of specialization which western economics only grasped when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations at the end of the 18th century.

Responding to me, Dr. Robertson laughingly alluded to diamond polishing as a popular Jewish specialty.  This is to say that diamond polishers should not repair their own cars any more than auto mechanics should spend months polishing a raw diamond to present to their fiancées. Instead, they allow the diamond specialist to do the polishing while they pursue their own work.

There was nothing troubling in this conversation.  Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the industry knows that over 90% of the diamond business, whether in Manhattan, Antwerp, or Tel Aviv, is conducted by Jews.  So what?

There was nothing anti-Semitic in this conversation.  There was no suggestion that all Jews are rich.  I explicitly stated that obviously there are poor Jews but at the same time, it is hard to ignore that Jews are disproportionately represented among the Forbes Four Hundred and other listings of the financially successful.

The entire point of much I have written and published is that Jewish financial success is not racial and genetic but cultural. Furthermore I demonstrate how anybody can learn, understand and apply the cultural principles rooted in the Bible just as so many Jews have done over the centuries.

However, there are always a few bitter and hateful individuals.  People whose loathing of Judeo-Christian tradition and repugnance for Biblically based conservatives makes them abandon facts and focus with frenzied fanaticism on microscopic morsels they scoop up and transform into bogus evidence to justify their hate.

Pat Robertson, regularly honored and loved by Israelis for his remarkable generosity to the Jewish state has yet to be shown to have ever caused harm to any Jew.  It is a frighteningly dangerous precedent for Jews to abuse the terrible term anti-Semite in order to bludgeon those with whom they disagree into silence and submission.  It is not only dangerous but it is also stupid and evil.  Some of my fellow Jews should be ashamed of themselves.  I know I was embarrassed to see a friend so insulted by those to whom he has always been kind and gracious.

The only people left in the whole world who still openly like Jews and support Israel are America’s Evangelical Christians.  I sometimes worry that God might wonder whether we Jews really do deserve these good friends.

Meanwhile, let’s remember that we unnecessarily jeopardize relationships by failing to judge others the way we’d like to be judged.  Furthermore, those to whom you do extend the benefit of the doubt will never forget your goodness.

3,326 years ago, God judged the Egyptians while bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. Each year, we relive this Exodus by celebrating Passover, including refraining from work and earning money on the first and last two days. See the sidebar for next week’s details. Take advantage now of our remaining open hours to enjoy holiday savings on our Library Pack and Library Pack PLUS (including free shipping in the continental U.S.). These packages provide hours of stimulation, enjoyment and growth, improving your economic, family and social life at an unbeatable price. Enjoy!

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Sing(apore) for Your Supper

March 11th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“I’m sure you’re doing your best.”  This is a subjective statement.
“Your grade dropped to a ‘D’ this semester.”  This is an objective fact.

“Management is satisfied with the company’s 2013 performance which was in accordance with expectations”    Subjective.
The company lost $3.7 million in fiscal year 2013.  Objective.

Measuring performance objectively brings success whether the goal is competing in the Olympics, losing weight, or increasing profit. Or, yes, learning.

Let me give you an example from Singapore, a tiny island nation with a racially and culturally diverse population that until 1965 was dependent upon Great Britain. Back then, less than fifty years ago, it was a sort of international welfare case with a Gross Domestic Product per capita about one twentieth of the United States.  This means that on average, each Singaporean produced less than one twentieth of the economic value that the average American produced.  Today, Singapore’s per capita GDP is slightly higher than that of the United States.  What brought about that miracle?

Lee Kuan Yew, who served as Singapore’s first prime minister for thirty years and is still known as the Father of Singapore, stated that it happened because of their education system.  How does it differ from education in America?

Among other factors, Singapore places a heavy emphasis on objective subjects like mathematics and science as opposed to subjects that have the word “studies” in their titles.  They don’t do social studies, earth studies, and environmental studies in Singapore. The country routinely scores at the very top of each year’s International Mathematics and Science Study while the United States according to recent data, scored at number 23, well behind countries like Thailand, Russia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Belgium.

Lest you respond that we must spend more on education, another objective fact tells us that Singapore spends about $2,000 a year per student while in the United States the comparable figure is about $12,000.

There is much data that those who care about children should examine. Focusing on objective facts rather than subjective fantasizing would be a good place to start.

Concentrating on objective actions and behaviors also helped transform a rag-tag band of slaves into the Hebrew nation about 3,326 years ago.  You see, little about life as a slave encourages objective analysis.  Foolishly, a slave master’s goal is often to keep the slave working endlessly. The slave’s time loses all meaning since a high level of accomplishment rarely betters his situation.

The Exodus was surrounded by many of God’s rules and rituals for the precise purpose of introducing the concept of an objective way of looking at reality.  Rather than fuzzy generalities, Exodus chapter 12 contains hundreds of specific details defining exactly what the Israelites must do before and during the Exodus from Egypt.

People whose lives lack objective measure amble and dawdle through the day.  By contrast, God directed the Israelites to move with such haste that even the dough wouldn’t have time to rise. (Those of us who have ever been shocked to realize how long we spent surfing the Internet would do well to learn this lesson.)

Also, membership in the group that was to be delivered from Egypt was not left to subjective feeling.  “Aw, c’mon, I really, really feel like an Israelite.”  Instead, each male was to be circumcised, surely a very objective indicator. Either you are or you’re not.  (Exodus 12:48)  Then in precisely 49 days they were to be standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Not 48 days and not 50 days. Precise and objective detail.  It is no wonder that the Israelites transformed from slaves to one of the most successful people in the world.

Understanding how details in the Bible reveal underlying vital messages such as this one, is an example of the type of ancient Jewish wisdom that I share in my brand new book Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance. I would love for this book to bless you and those you love and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Find out more about it here and see how you or someone you know can greatly benefit from it, available now at a reduced price.

Please be aware that I will be conducting teaching on these and other Exodus topics at a special 8 day Passover Conference Retreat at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn resort in San Diego from April 14 to April 22.  I would love to share the Pesach festival with you.

Business Secrets from the Bible, 350x533

I Win – You Win – We All Win

March 4th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Would you enjoy working with an investment advisor who is paid for the number of trades she recommends whether or not you make any profit? What do you think of a teacher who is paid even if his students learn nothing? Would you frequent a store that charges you for trying on clothes whether or not you buy anything? These are examples of simple transactions in which the interests of the two parties are not aligned.

The sales professional who works on a commission-only basis with no salary ceiling is a great example of interests that are aligned.  When his employer prospers, so does he.  When he prospers, so does his employer. Whether you are interviewing job-seeking candidates or whether you are applying for a position, clearly understanding this powerful principle is invaluable.  It is equally valuable in running a marriage or family. Part of effective leadership is persuading people that you are all ‘on the same team.’ In any interaction, focusing on merging everyone’s interests increases the probability of a successful outcome.

This vision of economic interaction in which both sides prosper is completely at odds with the socialistic worldview in which every economic transaction is viewed with suspicion. According to the secular materialist, if a storekeeper is happy with the sale, the customer was exploited. If a customer walks out smiling, he must surely have ripped off the storekeeper.  However, in God’s view of human economic interaction, the ideal transaction benefits both parties.

We learn this idea from a surprising source. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that in the stages of life, fifty years old is well suited for imparting advice.  The Scriptural basis for this stems from the few verses declaring that Levites should actively serve in the Temple from the ages of twenty-five to fifty. Knowing that a chapter in my book Thou Shall Prosper disparages retirement, many people have written to me asking if the Levites retire at age fifty.  Nothing could be further from fact.  After their fiftieth birthdays, their tasks changed. No longer involved in the day-to-day responsibilities of the Temple, they were busier than ever advising and guiding their brethren. (Numbers 8:24-26) They were uniquely suited to this assignment. Why?

Here is the key fact about the Levites: They received no portion of ownership in the Land of Israel.  Instead, they lived exclusively on a tithe from the income of the rest of the nation. (Numbers 18:21).    Their interests were perfectly aligned with those of all Israel.  When they blessed Israel, the blessing was genuine and whole-hearted.  When Israel prospered, so did the Levites.

Would you rather seek advice from someone who cares for your success as much as you do or from someone who views you as unimportant or a rival?  Clearly, advice from someone whose interests are aligned with yours is worth more than advice from an indifferent stranger, or worse, from someone who benefits when you fail.

After twenty-five years of prospering or suffering based on the financial successes or failures of others, the Levites completely internalized the message that their interests paralleled those of the children of Israel. They were ideally poised to offer sincere advice to others from an attitude of genuine concern. While the Temple no longer stands and while we are not all Levites, we can all benefit by learning from their experience. Before offering advice to anyone, whether our children or our business colleagues, we must be sure that our interests are aligned with theirs.  Just as importantly, we must be sure that they know and believe this to be true. The more our happiness and achievements mesh with the happiness and achievements of others, the more we all thrive.

This type of Biblical principle is highlighted in my hot-off-the-press book, released this week. Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance picks up where Thou Shall Prosper: The Ten Commandments for Making Money leaves off and reveals God’s plan for personal prosperity.  It’s not that God wants us to be rich, but He does want us all to behave in ways that produce prosperity. Among these ways is recognizing that our economic well-being is intertwined with the economic well-being of others.  I am delighted to make it possible for everyone to tap into ancient Jewish wisdom and discover tips and techniques for success. In these difficult economic times, going back to the Source is priceless.

Order alone or as part of our new Financial Book Package

Business Secrets from the Bible, 350x533 Financial Book Package

Know When to Hold ‘Em

August 27th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

She responded to his warmth, she basked in his company.  They shared a sense of humor and agreed on life goals. But every time she thought he would propose, something sidelined him. A new work assignment, a friend going through a rough time…all seemingly reasonable reasons for him to pay her less attention, but somehow she was troubled.

Her friends said, “Don’t give up; eventually he’ll come to see how good you two are together.”

Her parents urged her to cut her losses.  She’d already devoted much time to the relationship.

“You need to move on,” her parents said.

She asked me.  What did I advise her to do?

Then there was the young sales professional optimistically embarking on his first career.  He was representing a good company with a good product.  He reported to a well-regarded sales manager and he made his call quotas but he just wasn’t breaking through.  Five months went by with only a few closings and commissions to show.  Nobody wants to be a quitter, and he was no exception, but his spirits were drooping. He found it increasingly difficult to keep a smile on his face and a bounce in his step.

“Maybe this is just a bad match for me” he wondered. “Why keep on banging my head against the wall when at another company with another product, I might be doing really well by now.”

How did I respond to his request for guidance?

You’ve seen many similar situations, haven’t you?  Perhaps you’ve even been in one yourself.  Trying to break through into teaching; a career in fashion; starting your own small business; hanging in there with a long-term dating situation that isn’t moving toward marriage; writing a book.  Persevere and persist? Or quit, move on to something more promising and cut the losses?  How to know?

Ancient Jewish wisdom springs to our assistance.  Here are two versions of one verse.  Without peeking into a Bible, which do you think is correct?

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like just a few days because of his love for her.
(Genesis 29:20)

Or:

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like forty years
because of his love for her.
(Genesis 29:20)

Surely the second verse, right?  Imagine being head-over-heels in love with beautiful Rachel, but not being able to clasp her into your arms for seven long years.  Surely those seven years felt like forty.

But no; in reality the first verse is correct.  The difference between my two versions of the verse is the difference between love and infatuation.  When infatuated, delaying consummation is intolerable.  When in love, each day of progress is thrilling.

Infatuation we pursue regardless of physical, emotional, or financial depletion.  Love doesn’t deplete—it regenerates.  An infatuation distorts reality and dominates life; love integrates into one’s life.

The young lady I described above was in a state of infatuation. She was ignoring negative clues because she wanted the relationship to work. On that basis, I sided with her parents.  The sales professional, however, was seeing monthly improvement in his numbers; it was slow but it was steady.  There were real skills he could work on that would lead to his goal. My advice to stick it out paid off handsomely.

Are you in love with your project, your ambition or a person?  Or are they infatuations?  Are you goal-oriented and clearly see the path to your aim, or are you fantasizing upon the outcome without seeing steps on the way to getting there? Jacob was in love, not infatuated.  He didn’t relish the delay, but each day gave him opportunity to become more of the man that he wanted Rachel to marry. He stuck it out with excellent results.

We read of best-selling authors, prosperous business professionals and enviable relationships. We didn’t witness the obstacles they faced and overcame, but they persevered for a goal they loved. In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money I help you set a path for a real economic future. Invest in yourself or jumpstart the life of someone you wish to bless.

P.S. I’d like to invite you to sign up for the FREE live webinar that Susan and I will be hosting this Friday. We will be discussing my new series, “10 Commandments to Achieve FINANCIAL PROSPERITY,” as well as the intersection of marriage and business. Join us on Friday, August 30th, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Eastern Time (Noon – 5:00 pm Central Time, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Mountain Time, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Pacific Time).

We expect the Webcast to be exciting, informative, and it will definitely change the way you think about what “money” really means!  Plus, we have lined up some great surprises.

To join the free Webcast just sign up here.

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This week’s Susan’s Musings: The Buoys of Summer

Tod. Sidney. Montague. Glen. These are a few of my true loves, complete with my husband’s blessing. In fact, he is in love with them as well. Their full names are Tod Inlet, Sidney Spit, Montague Harbour and Glenthorne Passage. They are among our favorite stopping points when we boat around the Canadian Gulf Islands.

Tod Inlet2smaller

Without wanting to sound heretical… READ MORE

 

 

She responded to his warmth, she basked in his company.  They shared a sense of humor and agreed on life goals. But every time she thought he would propose, something sidelined him. A new work assignment, a friend going through a rough time…all seemingly reasonable reasons for him to pay her less attention, but somehow she was troubled.  

 

Her friends said, “Don’t give up; eventually he’ll come to see how good you two are together.” 

 

Her parents urged her to cut her losses.  She’d already devoted much time to the relationship they reminded her.

 

 “You need to move on,” her parents said.  

 

She asked me.  What did I advise her to do?

 

Then there was the young sales professional optimistically embarking on his first career.  He was representing a good company with a good product.  He reported to a well-regarded sales manager and he made his call quotas but he just wasn’t breaking through.  Five months went by with only a few closings and commissions to show.  Nobody wants to be a quitter, and he was no exception, but his spirits were drooping. He found it increasingly difficult to keep a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. 

 

“Maybe this is just a bad match for me” he wondered. “Why keep on banging my head against the wall when at another company with another product, I might be doing really well by now.”

 

 How did I respond to his request for guidance?

 

You’ve seen many similar situations, haven’t you?  Perhaps you’ve even been in one yourself.  Trying to break through into teaching; a career in fashion; starting your own small business; hanging in there with a long-term dating situation that isn’t moving toward marriage; writing a book.  Persevere and persist? Or quit, move on to something more promising and cut the losses?  How to know?

 

Ancient Jewish wisdom springs to our assistance.  Here are two versions of one verse.  Without peeking into a Bible, which do you think is correct?

 

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like just a few days because of his love for her.

(Genesis 29:20)

 

Or:

 

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like forty years because of his love for her.

(Genesis 29:20)

 

Surely the second verse, right?  Imagine being head-over-heels in love with beautiful Rachel, but not being able to clasp her into your arms for seven long years.  Surely those seven years felt like forty.

 

But no; in reality the first verse is correct.  The difference between my two versions of the verse is the difference between love and infatuation.  When infatuated, delaying consummation is intolerable.  When in love, each day of progress is thrilling.

 

Infatuation we pursue regardless of physical, emotional, or financial depletion.  Love doesn’t deplete—it regenerates.  An infatuation distorts reality and dominates life; love integrates into one’s life. 

 

The young lady I described above was in a state of infatuation. She was ignoring negative clues because she wanted the relationship to work. On that basis, I sided with her parents.  The sales professional, however, was seeing monthly improvement in his numbers; it was slow but it was steady.  There were real skills he could work on that would lead to his goal. My advice to stick it out paid off handsomely.

 

Are you in love with your project, your ambition or a person?  Or are they infatuations?  Are you goal-oriented and clearly see the path to your aim, or are you fantasizing upon the outcome without seeing steps on the way to getting there? Jacob was in love, not infatuated.  He didn’t relish the delay, but each day gave him opportunity to become more of the man that he wanted Rachel to marry. He stuck it out with excellent results.

 

We read of best-selling authors, prosperous business professionals and enviable relationships. We didn’t witness the obstacles they faced and overcame, but they persevered for a goal they loved. In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money I help you set a path for a real economic future. Invest in yourself or jumpstart the life of someone you wish to bless.

 

P.S. I’d like to invite you to sign up for the FREE live webinar that Susan and I will be hosting this Friday. We will be discussing my new series, “10 Commandments to Achieve FINANCIAL PROSPERITY,” as well as the intersection of marriage and business. Join us on Friday, August 30th, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Eastern Time (Noon – 5:00 pm Central Time, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Mountain Time, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Pacific Time).

 

We expect the Webcast to be exciting, informative, and it will definitely change the way you think about what “money” really means!  Plus, we have lined up some great surprises.

To join the free Webcast just sign up here.

One and Only

June 11th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

It is no fun to be roped into a game whose rules are a bewildering mystery.  It’s positively painful to start a new job and discover that nobody’s in charge and lines of communication and authority are as temporary as jet contrails in a windy sky.  It’s rough on children to grow up amidst arbitrary rules and capricious consequences.  It is downright depressing and alienating to try and function in a system that makes no sense at all.

Before the advent of the Global Positioning System, otherwise known as GPS, roadmaps were ubiquitous.  I have heard that (before my time), gas stations used to hand them out for free.  To this day when I arrive in a new city for the first time, I feel uneasy until I have acquired a large-scale street map on which I can locate my surroundings.  Boating without a chart and a compass is quite unthinkable.  Maps help me make sense of otherwise confusing environments that can feel almost unknowable.

The study of physics, chemistry, biology, and other authentic sciences help us feel less alienated from the physical world in which we live.  Things happen for a reason and we don’t need to fall back on mythical monsters and vengeful deities to explain why thunder follows lightening, how microbes help our digestion and why certain elements undergo radioactive decay.

While science is clearly a vital tool in trying to understand how the world REALLY works, it cannot provide information about those things not measurable by scientific method.  It can tell us little about the role honesty and integrity play in the life of a person and a culture.  It provides no reliable data on the sources of profound human happiness and it often provides contradictory information on how to marry successfully and how best to raise the progeny of that marriage.  For these and countless other questions vital to human survival, we have to turn to another system every bit as powerful and just as reliable as the scientific system.

I think of this system as the general theory on the totality of all existence, otherwise known as the Torah system of knowledge.  It makes our world as comprehensible as a roadmap makes a new city and allows us to anchor ourselves to a unifying integrity.

This truth is reflected by the arrangement of the Days of Creation in Genesis 1, each of which concludes with an ordinal number; third day, fourth day, fifth day, etc.  The exception is the first day of Creation. Rather than saying, “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day,” the verse reads:

… there was evening and there was morning day One
Genesis 1:5

In Hebrew, the number one, ECHaD, has no ordinal form. If we need to say first, we use an entirely different word RiSHoN, that literally means, “head of” as in the head of the line.  Each of the subsequent Hebrew numbers follows a pattern similar to four/fourth or seven/seventh.

The reason that the Lord’s language doesn’t admit an ordinal form of one is that when we use numbers such as sixth or eighth we imply that there are more of whatever we are counting coming along.  However, ancient Jewish wisdom views one as unique by definition.  It always references the singleness of God and the unifying integrity of His creation. There is nothing like it coming down the road to make it only the first (of several).  Since one is associated with God, it is one and only one.

Yet, accessing this system of knowledge takes time and perseverance. Perhaps our best resource for sculpting your spiritual roadmap to reality is our Biblical Blueprint Set.  This set of five powerful audio CDs provides many hours of Torah teaching unavailable anywhere else.  The global grasp is hinted at by topics ranging from verbal vulgarity to Torah tips on time maximization and from spiritual serenity to escaping the strait jackets that sap our energies and prevent us reaching our objectives.  I know you’ll be thrilled to access these teachings repeatedly in order to consistently rejuvenate your soul and revitalize your life’s purpose. Order the physical Biblical Blueprint Set or save even more by downloading.

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This week’s Susan’s Musings: Scandals and Sweethearts

 

Where to begin? The most recently reported American scandal? Older scandals that the administration is hoping citizens will ignore? The newly released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that pretty much turns us into a nation of troubled people? Iraq? Syria? China?
I’d rather start with the good news. Namely, the birth of our newest grandson, the absolutely delicious and adorable Joshua Hyam. (here’s a picture…)READ MORE

Ask the Rabbi

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

I am a young Christian college student and I have a question about healing. I was taught in church that God heals people from their illness with prayer. How does this work since most people don’t get healed?

Sterling H.

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

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