The beautiful Bahamas. Stunningly clear turquoise waters; white sandy beaches; sunny days with warm winds blowing gently and balmy evenings beneath the stars. You might think I am being hired to write tourist brochures for the fabled islands of New Providence, Bimini, and Eleuthera.
But no; I just returned from teaching “Contemporary Lessons from the Exodus” at a weeklong Passover Conference in Nassau. What I remember is not so much the natural beauty, though that was certainly striking. Not even the glowing descriptions from my friend, the distinguished Bahamas-based pastor Myles Munroe, prepared me for what I found.
It was the people. Eight days which included traveling and lecturing, being interviewed on Bahamian television, and meeting hundreds of locals. Yet I did not encounter even one surly, sullen, or unfriendly person. Not one!
For an explanation I turn, as always, to ancient Jewish wisdom. The Hebrew word for nature HaTevah has the identical numerical configuration (86) as the ineffable name of God, the Creator, appearing in Genesis 1:1 Elokim. The lesson is that to understand God, we must try to understand His creation.
In the beginning, God created 92 basic elements including the well-known hydrogen, oxygen, gold, silver, copper, platinum, uranium, calcium and lead. The remaining 83 include lesser known elements such as titanium, tellurium, caesium and cadmium.
While it is true that the periodic table today contains over 100 elements, only the first 92 occur naturally. The others must be artificially made and are generally unstable. They undergo nuclear rearrangement and radioactive decay shortly after being synthesized.
God created the entire universe with only 92 basic building blocks we call atoms. Everything that we use and which makes life possible and wonderful comes about through combining the atomic building blocks into compound molecules.
Thus, water, air, steel, wood, plastic, wool, silk, potatoes and marshmallows are all mixtures of those 92 building blocks. Even the table salt that our bodies need and which adds flavor to French-fries is a mixture of sodium and chlorine.
Obviously, true science never conflicts with the Torah and many of the secrets that God embedded in His book reveal this. Here is just one example.
The account of Creation runs from Genesis 1:1 all the way to Genesis 2:3. Those 34 verses contain exactly 92 separate discrete Hebrew words. That’s right! The building blocks of Creation number exactly the same as the building blocks used to describe it. 92 words to describe 92 elements. Please tell me that you’re utterly astounded by God and His Book. I know that I am.
The lesson is clear. God created a world for connection. He created words to connect into verses, musical notes to connect into songs, and people to connect with one another for fulfillment and happiness. Every socio-medical study arrives at the same conclusion. People with strong connections to other people – friends, family, worship community and business associates – live healthier and happier lives.
Yes, happier. Now back to the Bahamas. During many taxi and jitney rides, it was impossible to ignore how everyone greeted and spoke to everyone else. Even the driver’s efforts were punctuated by frequent horn honking as he waved and yelled greetings at acquaintances on the sidewalk or in passing vehicles.
I don’t know why this is. Perhaps it’s the result of a small population on a small island. But one thing is clear. Connected people are happier. Now go out and make at least one new friend every day!
How do you transform the idea of continually making new friends from a sweet sentiment into an action? Many of us have difficulty reaching out, especially when it is so easy to be in touch with thousands electronically without making any deep connections. I created my 2 audio CD set, Prosperity Power: Connect for Success precisely to offer realistic, concrete guidance for this task, along with additional ancient Jewish wisdom. Get it by mail or download, on sale online today.
I like to think that my little granddaughter, Aliza, with whom I shared Passover, is still happily singing the lyrics from the Beachboys hit “Sloop John B”:
We came on the sloop John B
My grandfather and me
Around Nassau town we did roam…
This week’s Susan’s Musings: Time Out
When your life revolves around the Jewish calendar, certain periods in the year overwhelm time. Passover is one of those occasions which take up so much mental and physical space that there is no attention left for most other things. Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman; Obama and Romney; even Iran and nuclear armament recede into the background…