Into the Valley of Equality

It’s truly terrifying that more young males are being brought up without a father than ever before. Terrifying?  Yes, terrifying! You want to know why?  Because boys need dads to help them acquire self-discipline and become men of honor. Because those with real-life experience of the criminal justice system will tell you that the one factor most shared by incarcerated men is not economic status, race, or gang-affiliation, but the absence of a father in the home.  Thus, the more boys without dads, the more frightened we should be. It’s sad but simple.

It’s truly terrifying that there is more income inequality in America than ever before. Terrifying? Huh? Why?  I’m trying to find out, honest I am.  One thing is for sure and that is that there is more talk of income inequality than ever before.  Pundits and politicians pontificate about how dangerous it is, but I like to figure things out for myself and I cannot see the problem.

Most Americans are reasonably comfortable living among people who have less than we do and we are equally comfortable helping them with a hand up.  Likewise, most of us are fine living among those with much more than we have.  For most of us, how people behave is more important than how much money they have.  We feel sympathy for the poor and, if anything, we are inspired to greater effort by the rich in hopes of reaching their levels of affluence.  Those agitating about inequality insist that it’s terrible but they won’t tell us why.   The wealth gap is frightening?  I think not. Income inequality is one of America’s biggest problems? I think not.

But maybe inequality is just plain immoral?  The trouble is that the words ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’ are utterly meaningless without specifying the framework that defines morality.  For instance, if the framework comprises socialism, liberalism, and progressivism, then inequality is clearly immoral.  This means we must empower government to ‘tax-the-rich’ in order to redistribute their money to the poor. Government will also define who is rich and who is poor.

However, there is another morality-defining framework that has sculpted the civilization that socialism wishes to dismantle.  This is the Bible-based Judeo-Christian vision. One can futilely search there for any endorsement of equality as a guiding moral principle.  Just as absent is any condemnation of inequality.

The word ‘equal’ appears only once in all the 79,976 words in the Torah.

…of the kings who were with him, at the Valley of Equality (SHaVeH),
which is the Valley of the King.
(Genesis 14:17)

The Hebrew word ShaVeH means equal.  This chapter in Genesis not only contains the Torah’s very first mention of the word king, but it also contains many more mentions of the word king than any other chapter in Scripture.  And it contains the only mention of equality.

One more piece of information is needed to solve the riddle.

And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar…
(Genesis 14:1)

The opening verse of the entire story mentions Amraphel of Shinar.  In Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel,  I walk you through the steps that lead ancient Jewish wisdom to see that Amraphel was another name for Nimrod, king of Shinar (Genesis 10:10). Nimrod’s vision of social organization is the centralized control system that battles against Abraham’s Biblical vision of human freedom.

Genesis 14:17 is the climax.  Abraham has defeated the dangerous vision of Nimrod at the Valley of Equality.  Nimrod and his allies used this idealistic promise of equality to cement their power over their people.  Abraham replaces the false vision of equality with that of the “Valley of the King” – the vision of God, the King.

Inequality is not scary.  You know what is?  When politicians start talking about inequality, that is scary.  When they promise to eradicate inequality, that’s just plain terrifying because that can be achieved only by obliterating freedom.

At this time, when socialism is not a specter on the horizon but is actually being advocated by one major political party, we ask you to use Tower of Power as a Bible study with your family, friends, church or synagogue. God’s message can reach hearts in a way that political advocacy cannot. Work with us to share God’s wisdom as revealed in these Genesis verses so that we do not have to learn the hard way to listen to His voice rather than our own.

16 thoughts on “Into the Valley of Equality”

  1. Dear friends, I am intrigued on the debate of equality vs freedom and would like to seek more knowledge regarding the topic. Would anyone be able to direct me as to where I can discover more material and delve deeper into the topic? God bless.

  2. Dear Rabbi, I must confess that reading your articles has given me a deeper insight into Biblical wisdom than ever before and influenced my writings too, such as The Youth Challenge: Believe and my booklet Greatness Redefined which is coming out soon.
    My take on the equality issue is that it is indeed the will of God, as we see in the matter of the Jews and manna in the desert. The book of 2 Corinthians 8: 13-15 further clarifies the matter. I see that God desires equality as of essence and in every realm for one and all. I see you as my Rabbi and would appreciate it if you would share some more light on the matter.
    Thanks again for sharing deep truths with us who are willing to receive it.
    Shalom shalom.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Abraham-
      During the 40 years in the desert, the Hebrews were only recipients. They were provided with everything by God so nothing that happened there is normative or informative to us. For instance they didn’t circumcise during that time but started again doing so before entry to the land under Joshua. In normal times, and throughout the Torah, equality is not endorsed or required at all. For instance, there is no suggestion that charity recipients must be made equal to their benefactor or even to one another. I am not familiar with New Testament writings so I can’t comment on whether your quote in fact does clarify the matter.

  3. Dear Rabbi ,

    I now work in a beautiful establishment and chose to be a part of the housekeeping team. I’ve been noticing lately more and more mothers are bringing their sons to the women’s restroom and not taking them to men’s. I’ve never done this myself but I suppose because of family laws and our culture changing we will see more and more of this. Yesterday a mother came into use the restroom while her two adult sons (17-21) waited in the women’s lounge calling into the room after their mother. As one became visibly uncomfortable and asked if he could use one of the stalls, I allowed it. They looked as though they had special (mental) needs. When they left, I had to clean the stall as if it were a urinal. After reading this article, it dawned on me that these young men were more child-like (not mentally ill).

    Women cannot raise men! Or children by themselves!

    I would know a little about this being raised by a single mother with three other siblings who are all male. My brothers were all substance abusers. They stayed in trouble. They never owned anything except for a car or small personal items. They went from job to job and when they had no job, my mother enabled them. They all had terrible relationships with women. Only one lived past the age of 55.

    Though raised by a single mother, as the American Dream would have it, I took various opportunities and am able to make more money than I thought I would ever have. I am married to the same man 40 yrs this Sept. I taught myself into a civil engineering occupation working mostly with male for many years. We own our home (we have a small 2nd mortgage to have something to write off). I didn’t care about equal pay because Instinctively the entire time I was working I would have traded the job for being a stay at home wife and mother raising our children.

    As much as I loved my brothers, who oftentimes thought it was my obligation to “share my wealth with them”, reluctantly on occasion I did, they were NEVER satisfied and I knew they were not my responsibility.

    Equality is an idea that man came up with but clearly is not God’s best for us!

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Teena-
      You clearly graduated summa cum laude from the university of hard knocks. Well done!! And contrary to so much of your family background you clearly made a long line of good decisions. I hope you have some opportunity to help younger people gain a little of your wisdom without having to undergo the painful times you did.

  4. Our modern promise of equality reminds me of the lyrics sung by Dionne Warwick:
    “You made me promises, promises
    Knowing I’d believe,
    Promises promises,
    You knew you’d never keep.”
    Unfortunately, many today are not only unfamiliar with such lyrics but so unfamiliar with history that they believe the lies of the ones making the promises. There is no true Democratic Socialism!

  5. Rabbi Lapin,
    I grew up without a father and at age 15 had two men who took me under their wings and I straightened up my life. I shudder to think where I would have ended up without that influence of principled, Godly men. I wanted to change and make my life different.
    Inequality was part of my life growing up as an orphan and even spending a few years as a homeless teenager on the streets of Chicago. It certainly wasn’t fair ! I’m grateful that I met men and women who became positive influencers in my life to not allow my history to become my destiny!
    I learned that even though I grew up on welfare I did not have to stay there. Welfafe was never meant to be an alternate source of income.

    Orphaned age 8, Homeless age 13, 15 got my life on the right track.Age 31 I had become a millionaire.
    What is really unfair is that I grew up in America where opportunity abounds and you can become anything you want to if you have the determination, grit and guidance from the right people.
    I am so grateful for your teachings and insight into prospering in every area of our lives. Thanks for being my Rabbi !

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Jeff–
      Your amazing life and the amazing story of human redemption you softly tell is well known to me and continues to inspire me. May God bless you and your wife with the ability to continue helping thousands of young people step up onto the escalator of hope and success. Never stop!
      Your friend,
      Daniel Lapin

  6. Ruth McCausland

    Dear Rabbi Lapin: You never cease to amaze me with your wisdom.
    Thank you for sharing your Biblical insight.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Ruth–
      Candor compels me to confess that it actually isn’t my wisdom at all. Much as I’d like to take credit for it the truth is Soli Deo Gloria–To God the glory and the credit.
      I am just a transmitter of ancient Jewish Biblical wisdom. A very competent transmitter but merely a transmitter nonetheless.
      Thanks for absorbing it

  7. Dear Rabbi Lapin,
    I could not agree with you more here: “Inequality is not scary. You know what is? When politicians start talking about inequality, that is scary. When they promise to eradicate inequality, that’s just plain terrifying because that can be achieved only by obliterating freedom.” ! I firmly believe this is a contrived effort on the part of the leftist agenda to foment discord, division, and dissent so they can promote their “solution” to the very problem they created! When we can promote ideas like you promote in your book “Business Secrets From The Bible” (I believe this is the one) that money is God’s “Thank you notes” for serving His kids; this is a vastly superior option in line with God’s plans for handling human interactions.
    Clearly, this is going to be a very long row to hoe because so many of God’s kids have no clue what is in His “owners manual”, (the Bible) much less any understanding of how to implement it!

  8. ‘When they (rulers or politicians) promise to eradicate inequality, that’s just plain terrifying because that can be achieved only by obliterating freedom.’ This has to be one of the most awesome statements you have distilled from Ancient Jewish Wisdom! What terrifies me the most is how widely the demonization of inequality has been disseminated today and how widely the delusional worship of ‘equality’ is embraced by the young.

  9. Stephen Meitzler

    Equality: great word! We here on planet Earth are all equal before Hashem. We are all sinners. But how many other ways are we equal? We are all opportunity challenged, but does that make us unequal? Some of us are content with the status quo, others can’t sit still – they’ve got to be doing. The founders of the USA saw us as equals in the eyes of God, but scripture says that “The poor you will always have with you.” So possibly the monetarily wealthy can think of themselves as “better” than the monetarily poor, but Hashem views us all as the same: sinners. That makes us equals. Praise His Name!

  10. It seems that some are on a rampage to spew forth their ideas with out any thought. To bad they don’t take time to study the issue, it might lead them down a bright new path. Of course, that is probably what they are afraid might happen.

    Hope many see what you said about fatherless boys.

  11. Right you are Rabbi Lapin,
    For as read, “To the hungry, the bitter is sweet.” So people pick the lesser. The well-phrased instruction is not tiny. Thank Adonai for Solomon asking for wisdom, and having David as Abba.

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