Don’t Ask – Do Tell

I don’t suggest that driving a Lamborghini resembles riding a skateboard. However, there are similarities; for instance each has four wheels. I don’t suggest that seeking a wife resembles hiring an employee. However, there are similarities; for instance both require a decision on whether a long term relationship would work.

There is no shortage of advice for serious young men courting purposefully, including lists of questions he could pose to the young lady in order to get to know her. Likewise, anyone can find lists of suggested questions to ask a prospective employee in order to get a sense of how that individual might work out.

One problem, of course, is that those very questions are available to everyone and any reasonably alert candidate can devise suitable answers to the anticipated questions.

Let’s learn a superior interview method from Abraham’s chief of staff, Eliezer, sent to select a bride for Isaac. In Genesis 24:21, Eliezer suspects that Rebecca might be the right woman, but is not yet certain. We would expect him to continue his due diligence, perhaps inquiring about her background. Instead, he presents her with expensive jewelry! Isn’t that a bit premature? Furthermore, the Torah spends many words detailing the jewelry’s precise weight.

…and the man took a golden ring weighing a beka and two bracelets upon her hands, ten of gold was their weight.
(Genesis 24:22)

That word beka, apparently suggesting some weight, is a strange word occurring only once again in the Torah.

A beka for the head, a half shekel of the holy shekel…
(Exodus 38:26)

It is quite inexplicable, until we notice another Hebrew word that appears to defy translation—ekev.

All the nations of the world will be blessed through your seed, ekev in that you listened to My voice.
(Genesis 22:18)

Ekev in that Abraham listened to my voice…
(Genesis 26:5)

And it shall be ekev you will listen to these statutes…
(Deuteronomy 7:12)

Nothing in an English translation would connect these words. But this is what the Hebrew word beka looks like:


And this is what the word ekev looks like:


Notice that they are made up of the same three letters. The letters’ numerical values are 100, 70, and 2 for a total of 172. This number is well known in ancient Jewish wisdom. It is the number of words found in the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20: 2-14.

Beka and ekev both refer, on a deeper level, to the essence of God’s message to mankind—the Ten Commandments.

Eliezer gave Rebecca something ‘golden’ – which is to say exceedingly valuable – whose measure was a beka or 172, and then something whose value was ten but divided into two objects. Does this suggest anything to you?

That’s right. The Ten Commandments, etched upon Two Tablets. He didn’t give her literal jewelry. The timing was inappropriate and the details redundant. He gave her an insight into the man who could become her husband by sharing Isaac’s lens into reality-the Ten Commandments. Now we understand how Rebecca could agree to go with Eliezer to marry a man she’d never met. (Genesis 24:58) She actually knew his essence.

Suitors and employers can use a similar technique. If you’re wooing a lady, don’t grill her. You’ll make far better progress by revealing the central focus of your life and then allowing her to react. If you’re interviewing a prospective team member for your organization, don’t interrogate the applicant. Instead, paint a comprehensive picture of your organization and its culture. Tell about you, your mission, your passion and your values. Then invite comments and questions and carefully listen.

Just like the word ekev, there is hidden depth in the structure of the Ten Commandments. These few verses are revered for a reason. They encapsulate an entire vision of how humanity can live safe, prosperous and uplifting lives. Devote an hour listening to my audio CD, The Ten Commandments. Understanding them can enrich your life, as it did Rebecca’s. (Order today and take advantage of the sale price!)

I am looking forward to meeting many of you this weekend in Charlotte, NC. Please make sure and say hi.

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