Posts tagged " Adam "

More? Sure! Everything? Never!

February 12th, 2019 Posted by Thought Tools 26 comments

A business professional in Michigan named Ken Lingenfelter owns about 230 cars.  Entertainer Jay Leno has about 170 and Jerry Seinfeld owns about 150.  Each of those avid car collectors has a list of a few more cars that he’d really love to acquire but knows he probably won’t.  Healthy people eventually recognize that nobody gets everything they want. 

Even when we acquire what we want, we usually find ourselves wanting more, putting us back to square one.  God created us with infinite desires. Happiness depends upon knowing that not all ambitions and longings can or should be realized.

This message is so important for humans to absorb that it is presented as a set of bookends to the Torah, appearing both at the beginning and at the end.  It is as if the good Lord is saying, “Look, life has a huge paradox.  I have created you with limitless ambition, countless hopes, and inexhaustible dreams.  I want you to pursue those boundless visions but I don’t want your happiness to depend upon attaining them.” 


The Birds, the Beasts and Me

October 17th, 2017 Posted by Thought Tools 6 comments

Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People appeared years before Mark Zuckerberg elevated the importance of acquiring friends on Facebook.  Yet, most healthy people realize that collecting “friends” only to further your own interests or in a fake world has nothing in common with establishing authentic relationships.

Let’s see if we can get an insight into real relationships through an unexpected Biblical connection:

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field
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.


Bouncing Back from Failure

November 22nd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 29 comments

One of the big reasons that some people flourish while others just remain frustrated by their painful circumstances is shame.  Shame about failing or about having failed.  The mortification is painful enough to prevent any further attempts.

Of the hundreds of world cultures identified and studied by the great social anthropologist, Joseph Daniel Unwin, by far the majority associate failure with shame.  Feeling embarrassment and shame after failure is common precisely because it is the normal and natural reaction to failure.  Normal and natural it may be but that doesn’t mean that we should regard it as acceptable.  Many things are normal and natural yet we correctly confine them to the private.  Similarly, a private sense of humiliation upon failure is certainly normal and natural.  But rising above those feelings is our human challenge.


S.O.S. – Save Our Souls

November 17th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 19 comments

When I was a teenager, my parents sent me to study Torah in Israel with my great-uncle, Rabbi Elya Lopian.  Watching and listening to a man who was a giant of ancient Jewish wisdom opened my eyes to spiritual reality.

Large numbers of young men from around the world flocked to study with him at his yeshiva, Knesset Hezekiah. A student, on one occasion, sought permission from my great-uncle to miss yeshiva while he returned home for a family wedding. Reb Elya inquired whether there would be young women dressed immodestly at the wedding.  My friend responded honestly that there was every possibility of this. However, he assured our teacher that his spiritual level was so high that he would be immune to whatever exposed feminine charms he might encounter.  He barely noticed attractive women, he concluded.


Money & Marriage Maketh Man

November 25th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

Try persuading today’s university students that making money is both dignified and moral. That’s what I did last week when I addressed 13,000 students at the Liberty University Convocation in Virginia. I not only told them that making money was a virtuous activity but I proved it. And they whooped, hollered and cheered. But remember, this was not Dartmouth, Yale or University of Missouri. There’s hope for America down there in Lynchburg.

My dear friend, the late Jerry Falwell, founded Liberty University in 1971. It is a beautiful campus populated by God-fearing young scholars who play as hard as they pray. Their Flames football team competes successfully in division 1 of the NCAA in the Big South Conference. (more…)

You Made Me

August 17th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

A few years ago, a large construction company was uneasy about having to change managers in the middle of an important project.  They consulted me after they placed Jennifer in charge of developing the new financial controls system.  I soon discovered that though she was familiar with the work plan and project definition, she was convinced that the venture was already a month behind schedule.

After warning the board of directors that the job would fall even further behind as Jennifer got up to speed, I advised them to grant her the authority to reset expectations and schedules. Only then could she take ownership of the project.  Without exercising authority, Jennifer would never feel truly responsible.

It is not only in business that authority must be granted. Occasionally fathers and mothers also forget this lesson.  Parents sometimes try to share a hobby that they nostalgically remember from their youth.  However, they turn their child into a spectator rather than a participant when they make all the decisions themselves.  When the child loses interest and abandons the project, the parent is disappointed.

It is appropriate for parents to expect children to participate in some of the household’s chores.  The results are invariably best when some decision making power comes with the job.

Though it is hard for many to do, whether at work or in the family, it is vital to grant authority so that subordinates or one’s own children begin to assume responsibility.  Without an opportunity to properly assume ownership of an undertaking, not only won’t people see the job through but they will also often resent otherwise wonderful opportunities.

For a compelling instance of this timeless truth, listen to Adam’s response to God’s challenge:

…Have you eaten from the tree that I prohibited you to eat from?
(Genesis 3:11)

Adam responds:

…the woman whom you gave me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.
(Genesis 3:12)

Adam could merely have responded, “The woman gave me from the tree and I ate.”  God would have known which woman Adam meant; after all there was only one in existence.  Why did Adam stress, “the woman whom you gave me”?

Ancient Jewish wisdom answers this perplexing question.  As you can imagine, Adam was infatuated with Eve.  Her arrival utterly transformed his life, filling it with passion and creativity.  Yet, on some deep level which emerged during this crisis of disobedience, Adam resented not having a voice in choosing his life partner.  This emerged in his words, “the woman whom YOU gave me.”

“This wasn’t the wife I chose for myself,” he is saying.  “You made me marry her.  So, what did you expect, God?  Look what happened!”

Obeying our parents’ wishes is a big part of the Fifth Commandment.  One exception, however, is if they try to tell us whom to marry.  (It is a really good idea to heed parents or friends when they tell you whom NOT to marry!) The reason is that marriage is tough enough without having a spouse who hasn’t ‘bought-in’ or ‘taken ownership.’  There are too many challenging moments, particularly early in a marriage when one or both partners might silently say, “If only I hadn’t listened to my parents; they made me marry this person.”  Every married individual needs to know that he or she made the decision freely to marry and therefore is responsible for that decision.

Whether in business or family, withholding authority stunts people’s growth, blocks achievement and is downright disrespectful.  Both children and employees reach full potential when they are gradually granted increasing authority to match the increased responsibility they assume.

Letter from radio listener

March 11th, 2007 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

There are several ways in which people communicate with me. Some call in to my radio show on Sundays (415) 808-5600 at KSFO San Francisco, while others email me from either or from Either way, I do get the email, read it all, and respond to about 25% even if the response is very brief. Below is an example of a letter that arrived today which I answered. Between working on the newest volume of Genesis Journeys (Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam) and my other writing, there is limited time particularly since I greatly enjoy whatever time with my family I can have. The second volume of Genesis Journeys, The Gathering Storm-Decoding the Secrets of Noah will be available on the website very soon…probably within a couple of weeks. Anyway, back to this question I was just asked below….interesting that just this morning, the New York Times (why I read it is the subject of another story) published a front page story about couples who sleep in separate bedrooms! Very interesting. The point is that the couples who do have separate sleeping quarters are, on some level, uncomfortable about it. I am not saying there is anything terrible with the idea as I’d say about shall we say, a bi-coastal marriage or a marriage in which the partners live in different cities and see one another every weekend or every second weekend. That would be a real question mark for me. However, this story describes a way couples adapt to some of the stresses of modern life particularly with two spouses working out of the home. Still, most couples doing this, feel the need to explain it. My point is that deep down, we all know that marriage means being together. It is not merely a socio economic classification. I have to go now, my wife is calling….
Dear John,
An honor to hear from you. No, that is not a correct translation.
One of the next volumes in my audio series Genesis Journeys ( is entitled Madam I’m Adam–Decoding the Marriage Secrets of Eden in which I explain in detail. Suffice for now to say that the Hebrew means not rib but ‘side’…God took the female side of Adam and formed it into a separate being, Eve. He originally made them united in order to teach the lesson forever that marriage is like no other relationship… sister is my sister even if she lives on another continent…my mother and father are my parents no matter how much geography divides us, but my wife and I must be close in proximity.

More later…


Rabbi Daniel Lapin



Dear Rabbi Lapin

I was listening to Native America Calling recently. A woman on the program stated that a Rabbi said to her that in Genesis where “G_d” took a rib from Adam was a wrong translation.

She said the Rabbi told her it was from his penis that Eve came.

Please tell me if that is a true translation.


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