TRENDING TODAY

A Child’s Coat; a Mother’s Love

A Your Mother’s Guidance post by Rebecca Masinter

Exodus 28 details the clothing that the Priests and High Priest wore while doing the service in the Tabernacle and Temple.  The Torah describes them as “Bigdei Kodesh” “holy clothing”  because of their function of being worn in holy service. I’d like to share with you another instance in Scripture of holy clothing and this one came about through a mother’s love!

I learned this many years ago from Rabbi Meir Prengler, currently of Los Angeles, and it was so powerful and beautiful that it stuck with me. 

When Hannah brought Samuel to serve in the Tabernacle under the priest, Eli, she was giving up her beloved son obtained miraculously after years of childlessness.  Out of her great love for her son, Samuel,  she made him a special coat – a meil, so he would have something of hers with him even when they were apart (I Samuel 2:19). 

With each stitch she sewed, she imbued the coat with her love, and a mother’s love is eternal.  This explains why the coat grew with Samuel as he grew, and even remained his after his death.  Later,  after Samuel died, King Saul needed to talk to him from beyond the grave and how did Saul identify Samuel?  The man with the coat (I Samuel 28:14).

Rabbi Prengler told us that the great love that Chana instilled in this coat made it an item of holiness, so spiritual that it even surpassed death.  We can’t begin to comprehend the power of our actions or the effect that our love has and will continue to have on our children. The truth is that a mother’s love is powerful beyond belief.

Eleanor’s Eleven Keys to a More Fulfilling Life

Have you noticed how many books have a number in the title, like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?  Or how many articles are enticingly entitled “The Top 5 Reasons We Fall Out of Love”?  We human beings love lists. Who wouldn’t be smitten with the idea that if I only do these seven or ten or fifteen things, my life will be better, my marriage will be stronger and my career will flourish? Of course, it is easier to read the ideas than to put in the hard work of executing them. And, of course, no list—even the most marvelous one—hits every area every time.

I recently read a book from decades ago, with a subtitle that still resonates today. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, one of America’s most admired women, wrote You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life only a few years before her death (decades after her husband’s presidency). The advice she gives holds up rather well, though I think she would be shocked to discover that by today’s standards she might very well be considered a hard-core conservative rather than an icon of the Democrat Party.

As so often happens when reading a book from a previous era (the book was published in 1960), one is reminded that assumptions we make and things we take for granted aren’t necessarily writ in stone. In last week’s Your Mother’s Guidance column, Rebecca Masinter wrote about a Scriptural lesson on the importance of each individual feeling needed. Mrs. Roosevelt wrote on the same topic, in a way that I think sounds surprising to the modern ear.

Mrs. Roosevelt writes,

“One reason why we sometimes find less delinquency proportionately among the poor (my emphasis) is that the children have a greater sense of being needed in the family. They have a sense of belonging, of shared responsibility, of being an essential—and necessary—part of a component whole.”

In our day, we are strongly propagandized that crime is an inevitable consequence of poverty. Yet, it seems that this is not a given.

I find it fascinating that the Public Works Administration was a keystone of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to the lack of available work during the Depression. The concept reflects the truth that money earned uplifts workers, but money given too freely corrodes the recipients. Yet, its policy grandchildren of today are a proliferation of public assistance programs that actually discourage working. Programs since the 1960s have had the  unintended consequence (or some will argue, the very much intended consequence) of penalizing those who marry and work while struggling financially. Children not only don’t feel needed in order to help the family survive, but these programs undermine the idea of family itself. Reliance on government programs rather than family members treats husbands and fathers as unnecessary. The birth of children, in and of itself rather than the efforts and help of those children, triggers the flow of so-called government money.

Our children used to joke that homeschooling was another name for child labor as their many hours at home gave them plenty of time to wash dishes, put away groceries, cook and clean. The line between schooling and home was difficult to delineate as we doubled fractions in recipes, compared prices per ounce in the market and recited poems while sweeping. There was plenty of time for everything. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that our children are amazed that their father and I actually function without them since they have grown up and established homes of their own. I think that Eleanor Roosevelt would have understood.

Here’s another important number.
$5 off any of our sets and packages – use as many times as you like!
Just enter promo code WINTER at check-out.

Complete Library Pack PLUS

Books, audio CDs and DVDs

All sets and packages $5 off
when you enter the promo code WINTER at checkout. 

Should we emigrate or stay put?

Shalom,

 Firstly I would like to sincerely thank you for every podcast, thought tool, answer to every question with so much thought and wisdom.  It’s been life changing listening and reading everything you and your wife share.  

We live in Namibia, a country bordering South Africa and linked to the South African Rand.  We are going through a huge recession and as the saying goes here – if South Africa has a cold, Namibia has Pneumonia. Everything that happens in SA has a huge impact on us.  

We are seriously contemplating if we should emigrate. Why?  The main reason – to create a better future for our children.  There is little to no future for them in Namibia.  As the economy worsens, corruption and violence increases.

 Moving to another country like New Zealand means we can create a new life with new possibilities together.  They can go on and study at numerous universities.  They can get married and we can see our grandchildren grow up together…

 …or we can stay and they will most probably move away themselves somewhere in the future, and with our weak currency visiting them anywhere in the world will be next to impossible…

We don’t know the future of our country but for now the future does not look great. We are by no means doom and gloom people and as mentioned earlier we are still safe but when does one get to the point where one actually takes a step toward something like what you call “the American dream”? When does your children’s future take preference before your own comfortable life(or seemingly comfortable life)?

Do we have a lot to give up? TONS!!! Both our families are all here.  We are a very close knit family.  We live on a stunning plot outside town with lots wide open spaces, My daughter (age 11) has her own quarter horse, the boys (ages 13 and almost 4) can climb trees and hunt birds. They love the animals and freedom. Here everyone knows who you are. You’ve already made your name. Basically our whole life- 14 years of marriage.  Everything we worked for… we will have to leave that behind and look to the future, for our children…or stay and pray it gets better…

When is considering to emigrate a good option?

We have done a lot of research. We’ve made our lists of pros and cons. My head says go, my heart says no.

 Any advice/thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 Thank you so much,

The B. family

Dear B. Family,

Thank you for writing and thank you for your kind words regarding our teachings.  We derive great joy from hearing that our work benefits people’s lives. 

While we shortened your letter a bit for this column, we hope we haven’t removed the emotional impact. As with so many other important life decisions, twenty years from now you will know what was the best thing to do, but by then you will be living the consequences of whichever decision you make.  The good news is that by far and away, most decisions are not matters of life/death.

In all probability, twenty years down the road people will still be living, for better or for worse, in both Namibia and New Zealand.  Occasionally the wrong decision places people in the heart of terrible war zones.  Think of Jewish families who fled frightening rural parts of Poland in 1938 and settled in Warsaw only months before the Nazis invaded.  Or the people who wanted to get away from it all and relocated to the Falkland Islands just before the war of 1982.

In the spring of 1960, there was a terrible event in which about 70 people were shot dead by South African policemen in Sharpeville.  This was followed by a mass exodus of many South Africans who had opportunities elsewhere in the world.  The conventional wisdom was that this was the right time for people, particularly those with white skins, to leave the country.  Many did just that.  Yet in the fifty years since then, South Africa has had some of its best times. 

Today, however, with disturbing socio-political trends in Southern Africa including Zimbabwe and Namibia, I think that for people in the right circumstances, it could be a good time to start a new life elsewhere.  That said, I have advised a number of South Africans over the past year or two to remain and help bring stability. Everything depends upon circumstances.

We don’t, and more importantly ancient Jewish wisdom, doesn’t, minimize the impact of leaving one’s homeland and family. In Genesis 12:2, after telling Abraham to leave his land, birthplace and family, God promised him three blessings to compensate for the typical costs of major relocation—family, finances, and reputation.  These are exactly the same concerns mitigating against you leaving Namibia today.

We point out a few ideas to ponder. Taking as a given that we cannot guarantee security, looking to the future and taking into account what is going on in southern Africa, it does seem that you are wise to anticipate worsening conditions.  It goes without saying that what we recommend to you with your young family is quite different from what we might say to a semi-retired couple who have lived in Southern Africa with their families for over fifty years.

In addition to the points you made about New Zealand offering your children more educational and economic opportunity, we’d like to add an idea. In Jeremiah 35:7-11  we meet Yonadav the son of Rechav, whose descendants survived a war by relocating because they did not feel tied to land.  Now Yonadav’s prescription to avoid owning real estate is a bit extreme as a practical policy. But the point is to feel sensitive to the subtle signals that it’s time to move without being overwhelmed by the emotional impact of all the immovable property one owns. 

You can carry your family heritage and your beliefs with you and establish a home wherever you are. While parting from close family will be wrenching and you and your children will lose out by being ‘strangers in a strange land’, is it possible that you should be establishing a foothold in a new country?  Maybe your destiny is to provide a landing site if things do deteriorate rapidly.  Perhaps one day you will be able to offer your extended family a haven and refuge.  This was very often the thinking behind the grueling emigration that brought many Jews to America and South Africa in the late 19th century.  In the end they did make it possible for many of their friends and family later to escape the Nazi death machine. 

We do not know if you have the ability to land in a new country with a nest egg to launch your new life or whether you would be starting entirely from scratch.  (Ancient Jewish wisdom does recommend keeping a third of your assets in easily movable form—hence the Jewish fondness for the diamond business.  A nice pouch of high quality jewels greatly eases immigration!  I’ve often contemplated the question of whether crypto-currency could serve this purpose but at this point I do not trust it as possessing real value.)  Either way, as more years go by, and some of the flexibility and adaptability of youth fades, starting over does become more difficult.

In a way, dear B’s, your final sentence pretty much provides the answer.  You wrote that after weighing it all up, it is coming down to a head vs. heart analysis.   It is always very clarifying when a difficult decision resolves itself into a head/heart conflict.  We think you know what we would say.  Nearly always, head trumps heart.  That doesn’t mean there is no pain.  It just means that ultimately there is more gain. 

Do whatever you can to minimize the heartbreak and pain of leaving, plan for success as much as you can, but in the final analysis, if you have the strength to do so, follow your head. (And make sure that your pro and con lists are complete.)

With blessing for peace, prosperity and success wherever you are,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 A Positive Side of Winter!
Use promo code WINTER at check out and get $5 off each of our packages and/or sets. 

Use promo code WINTER at checkout 
and get $5 off each package or set that you purchase!

Stock up on Genesis Journeys, Biblical Blueprints, Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV shows, the Income Abundance Set and more…

Friends Forever?

Go ahead; list the ten most important relationships in your life.  Some will be family and others will be business and work relationships.  There will probably be a few friends on the list too.  Family relationships are fairly well defined.  The obligations and expectations of those relationships are, for the most part, known quantities. Business relationships are also clear, governed as most are by contracts.  But what about friends?  What are the obligations of friendship? What are reasonable expectations of friendship?

While the Five Books of Moses are packed with rules and rituals that shape both family and business relationships, it is notably light on mention of friendships.  We know just what employees owe their employers and vice versa, and we know what parents owe children and what children owe their parents, but if we ask people what they owe their friends, the answer could be, “It depends on the friend.”

Everyone knows the answer to the question, “For how long will your parent be your parent?”  If asked for how long a marriage is intended to last, the correct answer is, ‘This is forever.’  But if one is asked for how long one’s friend will be one’s friend, the prudent answer is, “I don’t know.”  The true answer might be, “For as long as we both want to be friends.”

The fine Irish poet, William Butler Yeats whose wonderful poem, Sailing to Byzantium, donated its opening line “That is no country for old men” to the title of a Coen Brothers 2007 crime movie, also penned an even better known line:

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” 

The line hints at an uncomfortable truth, namely that the line between friends and strangers can be a bit blurry.

Which presents us with a puzzling problem: how do we build lasting frameworks for friendships?  Ancient Jewish wisdom provides a pathway by noting the parallels between the first two commandments of the Torah and the last two.

#1:  Have children

Be fertile and increase…
(Genesis 1:28)

#2:   Circumcision

You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin.
This shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
(Genesis 17:11)

#612:   Annual gathering, a sort of State of the Union Address

Gather all the people—men, women, children, and the strangers in your communities…
(Deuteronomy 31:12)

#613:   All must have their own copy of the Torah

Therefore, write down this prose…
(Deuteronomy 31:19)

The first two commandments link the individual to both the past and the future.  God wants me to reproduce which links me to the future. Furthermore, I’m directed to circumcise my sons. This is an immensely powerful, emotional ceremony which locks me to the past.

The last two commandments link the nation to the past and to the future.  We’re told to hold an annual gathering at which we all listen to the Torah and relive our history.  Then the Torah’s final instruction directs each member of the nation to write our own copy of the Torah; an arduous undertaking that only makes sense if the resulting book is going to serve as our roadmap to the future. 

Thus we see that the Torah, the constitution of the Jewish people, is bookended by a pair of rules that give the individual his or her life context, and another pair of rules that give the people its life context.  As an individual, I am not an alienated orphan dropped into a cold lonely life.  I am linked to a future by my children and I am linked to a past by the timeless covenant of Abraham.  The nation, in turn is also linked to its destiny in the future and its origins in the past. 

Many Americans fear greatly for the future of their country because new citizens, whether by birth or immigration, are no longer taught to value the country’s origins.  Even more concerning to many is that current citizens no longer share any sense of a purposeful national future based on shared American ideals. 

When past and future are shared with others, friendships often result. Each stranger can truly be a friend, “you haven’t yet met.” When people’s ideas excite them today, but have no bedrock in the past nor sustainable hope in the future, strangers can walk together temporarily, but true friendship is unlikely. For friendships to thrive our lives need to be firmly rooted in the past and foreseeable in the future.

We like to think of our resources as providing direction for the important areas in our lives, the four Fs: Family, Friendship, Faith and Finances. This week, expand your practical wisdom in all four zones by using the promo code WINTER at check-out to save $5 off all our already low-priced sets and bundles.

Complete Library Pack PLUS Use promo code WINTER at checkout
and get $5 off any of our low-priced sets!

THOUGHT TOOLS

  • Friends Forever? February 18, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin- Go ahead; list the ten most important relationships in your life.  Some will be family and others will be business and work relationships.  There will probably be a few friends on the list too.  Family relationships are fairly well defined.  The obligations and expectations of those relationships are, for the most part, known quantities. Business… Read More

ASK THE RABBI

  • Should we emigrate or stay put? February 19, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin- Shalom,  Firstly I would like to sincerely thank you for every podcast, thought tool, answer to every question with so much thought and wisdom.  It’s been life changing listening and reading everything you and your wife share.   We live in Namibia, a country bordering South Africa and linked to the South African Rand.  We… Read More

SUSAN’S MUSINGS

  • Eleanor’s Eleven Keys to a More Fulfilling Life February 21, 2019 by Susan Lapin- Have you noticed how many books have a number in the title, like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?  Or how many articles are enticingly entitled “The Top 5 Reasons We Fall Out of Love”?  We human beings love lists. Who wouldn’t be smitten with the idea that if I only do these seven… Read More

ON OUR MIND

  • Honoring a Brave Man February 14, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin- On February 6, I, like many others, was shaken to hear of the death of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. I am honored to have been asked to eulogize him for one of the most important Jewish newspapers. You can read excerpts from my words on our American… Read More

PODCAST

Listen to our podcast on the go or wherever you are!
Uncover how Ancient Jewish Wisdom can positively impact every aspect of your life.

Listen Now   

TV SHOW

We teach. We laugh. We even argue.
Scripture comes to life, guiding us all towards more happiness and success.

Watch Now   
Join the over 42,000+ people who have chosen to receive FREE weekly teachings from Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin revealing ancient Jewish wisdom for their lives.
Send Me Thought Tools   

Videos

Enjoy an assortment of video messages from Rabbi Daniel Lapin!

  • Homepage Video 1
  • Homepage video 2
  • Homepage video 3
  • Homepage video 4
  • Homepage video 5
  • Homepage video 7
  • Homepage video 8
  • Homepage video 10

About Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America’s Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, popular international speaker and best-selling author. He hosts the Rabbi Daniel Lapin podcast as well as co-hosting the Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV Show on the TCT network with his wife, Susan. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner, thus improving peoples’ finances, family and community life  has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths.

Speaker

Author

Rabbi

GET IN TOUCH

Do you have a question you’d like to discuss or simply want to stay in touch?

Send us an email at: admin@rabbidaniellapin.com or use the contact form below.

X