Name that Animal

Dale Carnegie started it with his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. With Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg continues to stress the importance of “friends.”  But collecting “friends” because of the benefit they bring you is creepy and manipulative. It is certainly no way to form authentic relationships.

This Thursday night, God willing, will be the first of twenty-seven speeches I shall be delivering in the United Kingdom under the auspices of Jeffrey Lestz and the Genistar Corporation. I will be lecturing on the topic of authentic relationship building, chiefly for business but also applicable to friendship and romance.  Please forward this link to friends in the UK, so they can join me.

Here is one piece of helpful information I anticipate sharing. Carefully read this verse:

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them…

(Genesis 2:19)

God brought Adam two categories of creatures (i) every beast of the field; (ii) every bird of the air.

Next verse:

And Adam called names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field…

(Genesis 2:20)

Surprisingly, Adam named three categories (i) Cattle, (ii) the birds of the air (iii) the beasts of the field.

We have a problem:  Not only does Adam reverse the order of birds and beasts, but he names an entirely new category—cattle.

As is so often true, the answers lie in the Lord’s language—Hebrew.

Here are the opening three words from Genesis 2:20.  I know you may not read Hebrew (yet) but gaze upon these words as graphic elements. (The middle word is Adam.)

And Adam called names

Now view the Hebrew names for the books of Exodus and Leviticus:

Exodus                                         Leviticus

Do you see the similarities?  Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the answers to the mysteries of Genesis 2:20 can be found in the transition from Exodus to Leviticus.

The very end of Exodus describes how God cements his relationship with Israel by providing them with ever-present visible protection throughout all their journeys, via Heavenly clouds and a pillar of fire. In response, Leviticus opens with Israel strengthening its relationship with God by bringing Him offerings. The Hebrew word used for offering or sacrifice is Korban which actually means ‘getting close’.

In other words, close and authentic relationships are brought about by giving to the other. Find ways to do favors for friends. (If you mistakenly think sacrifice has a negative connotation—as in, “Look how much I sacrificed for you,”—there is an entire chapter on the word Korban and the practical life applications of it in our book Buried Treasure.)

Giving a name is an intimate act of closeness.  When we address people by name, we initiate connection and acknowledge their individuality. Parents name newborns; lovers give one another pet names.  In naming the creatures, Adam is establishing a relationship between man and animals. Thus, he distinguishes between them, ordering them by degrees of closeness to humans. He first introduces a new category— cattle.  Cattle include those animals that work together with humans to the benefit of both.  Adam places birds next because birds bring music and color to our homes and gardens. Finally, he names beasts, those animals that avoid human habitation and with whom we have least relationship.

“Friending” people on Facebook is easy. Real relationships demand that we discover ways to do things of value for our new acquaintances.  While business connections are essential, forging a special relationship with one individual in marriage is our most important bond. It is so critical, that God embedded directions for doing so in multiple verses at the beginning of Genesis. Delve into the mind-blowing ancient Jewish wisdom on this topic with me through my 2 audio CD set, Madam, I’m Adam: Decoding the Marriage Secrets of Eden.  It truly pains my heart to see couples starting marriage or struggling to maintain one without this treasure trove of information from their Creator. I’ve temporarily reduced the price to make sure you can get—and gift—this precious investment.

This week’s Susan’s Musings: Does God Still Know Best?

Among all the hoopla that attends a presidential election, initiatives get less attention. But my voter’s pamphlet arrived last week, and along with choosing a president, governor and other elected officials, there are a number of initiatives on the ballot.

One of them, which polls show is likely to pass, allows for same-sex marriage in my state…READ MORE

Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here

In the Bible it speaks of the land being defiled because of gross sin. It almost is like the land or earth is personified as a living thing, I recall the blood of Abel crying out from the ground? What is the Jewish thought on this?

Rene C.

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

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