I mean no disrespect to males. Really. I am one myself. But as the father of six daughters, my instincts lean towards protecting females. Girls are far more emotionally vulnerable than guys. Guys must learn to take it on the chin. So, just as long as you know this is not anti-male, we can proceed.
Young women in the process of meeting potential spouses frequently consult me about a prospective candidate. This is not due to any inherent skills or prophetic insight. No, I am privileged to be engaged in this holy work only because ancient Jewish wisdom teaches me the correct questions to ask men and it guides me in interpreting the answers that they provide.
Here, for the benefit of women who don’t have easy access to me are three examples:
Question: So, what sort of work do you do?
Interpretation: Any response starting with “well…” means unemployed.
Question: How close are you to your family?
Answer: My mother suffers from depression, my dad has always been a workaholic and my sister has issues, so…
Interpretation: I’m an egotistical and insufferable person.
Question: How do you feel about God and faith?
Answer: I’ve always felt that religion was an intensely personal matter…
Interpretation: I will fake an interest in God to retain your interest in me.
You great girls out there; you get the idea. Meanwhile, I owe all you loyal readers an explanation of at least one of the timeless Torah truths that inform me in this area.
And the Lord God formed man [ADaM] from the dust of the earth [ADaMa]…
This juxtaposition of man [ADaM] and earth [ADaMa] is seen again four chapters later.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man [ADaM] whom I have created from the face of the earth [ADaMa]…
God provides no information about what ingredients went into making the sun and moon or from what He built camels, cows, or kangaroos, but He does specify the material from which He constructed the human being. It was earth.
This link between human and earth has always been viewed as significant. For instance, early scholars retained the man-earth link by deriving the word human directly from the Latin word for earth—humus.
Similarly, the Spanish word for man is hombre, again retaining the link to the H-M of humus or earth. Likewise, if we avoid being high and mighty and we remain down-to-earth we are seen as HuMble. Bringing someone down towards the earth can be to HuMiliate him and we commit HoMicide when we kill him and put him in the ground. Of course to take a victim of homicide out of the earth is to exHuMe him.
All this and more flows from the Lord’s language linking human [ADaM] and earth [ADaMa] in the first few chapters of Scripture.
But why should God remind us that we are created from Earth to which we must ultimately return?
The answer can be found in another distinction between the creation of animals and the creation of humans.
…and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…
To nothing else in creation but Man did the Creator impart His special breath of life. This breath of God’s spiritual vitality exerts upon us all a subconscious pull towards heaven. In the same way that a helium balloon soars away and eventually bursts in the stratosphere if not tethered to earth, we humans can also lose touch with reality if not constantly reminded that we are of the earth.
It is certainly a good thing that we are imbued with a pull towards God but it can also be problematic. This pull can manifest itself in many ways that disconnect us from the reality of making a life for our families and ourselves right here on earth.
Have you heard the expressions “He has his feet on the ground”? Or, “She’s so down to earth”? These are seen as good things. They mean the people involved remember that they are of the earth.
The questions I like to hear answered by men courting women I care about reveal whether or not the candidate is ‘down to earth’ and ‘has his feet on the ground.’ I advise those women who get the wrong answers to run for their lives.
I advise you also to run for your life. In your case, however, I don’t mean ‘run from’ but ‘run to’. Run to seize God’s wisdom, His tree of life.
It’s a tree of life to those who lay hold of it
and happy are all who hold fast to it.
I’ve collected some of my favorite down to earth lessons from God’s wisdom in my audio CD series The Biblical Blueprint Set, containing five hours of teaching from the vast reservoir of ancient Jewish wisdom. You’ll want to hear this material again and again before perhaps gifting it to someone else. It will help you just as it helps me stay exquisitely suspended between heaven and earth. This is how we humble humans should be. Click here to read about the Biblical Blueprint Set.