Posts tagged " connection "

Building Blocks – Not for Kids Only

October 16th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 26 comments

Jews around the world recently finished an annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses (the Torah) and immediately began reading again from the beginning of Genesis.  Since so many of us met the “stories” in Genesis as children, we sometimes neglect to view the book with adult eyes.  Ancient Jewish wisdom analyzes each letter and word, revealing treasure that we can only uncover with a mature viewpoint. I’d like to share one example. 

In the beginning, God created 92 basic elements including the well-known hydrogen, oxygen, gold, silver, copper, platinum, uranium, calcium and lead.  The remaining 83 include lesser known elements such as titanium, tellurium, caesium and cadmium.

While it is true that the periodic table today contains over 100 elements, only the first 92 occur naturally.  The others must be artificially made and are generally unstable.  They undergo nuclear rearrangement and radioactive decay shortly after being synthesized.

In other words, the entire universe is made with only 92 basic building blocks we call atoms.  Everything that we use and which makes life possible and wonderful comes about through combining the atomic building blocks into compound molecules.

Thus, water, air, steel, wood, plastic, wool, silk, potatoes and marshmallows are all mixtures of those 92 building blocks.  Even the table salt that our bodies need and which adds flavor to French-fries is a mixture of sodium and chlorine.

Obviously, true science never conflicts with the Torah and many of the secrets that God embedded in His book reveal this.  If you’ve been learning with me for a while, you know that every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. The Hebrew word for nature, HaTevah, has the identical numerical configuration (86) as the ineffable name of God, the Creator, that appears in Genesis 1:1 Elokim (86).  The lesson is that to understand God, we must try to understand His creation.

The account of Creation runs from Genesis 1:1 all the way to Genesis 2:3.  Those 34 verses contain exactly 92 separate discrete Hebrew words.  That’s right!  The building blocks of Creation number exactly the same as the building blocks used to describe it.  92 words to describe 92 elements!  Please tell me that you’re utterly astounded by God and His Book.  I know that I am.

We can’t leave it there. We must ask what valuable lesson God is imparting to us. The lesson is clear.  God created a world for connection.  He created atoms to connect into molecules and molecules to connect into the things we need. He created words to connect into verses, musical notes to connect into songs, and people to connect with one another for fulfillment and happiness.  Every socio-medical study arrives at the same conclusion.  People with strong connections to other people – friends, family, worship community and business associates – live healthier and happier lives. From the first word of Genesis, God is urging us to absorb the reality of a world of connection. 

Genesis and the rest of Scripture provide God’s blueprint for life. Much of it reveals its secrets only through ancient Jewish wisdom. I share some of the most eye-opening and amazing tips for life in 4 audio CD sets that are available together in our Genesis Journeys Set. This approximately 8 hours of audio will thrill you and reshape your life. I invite you to access it as a download or by mail while it is on sale right now. 

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When is ‘connecting with others’ a mistake?

April 27th, 2017 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 17 comments

I accept your teachings of God’s desire for his children to interact with one another and am intellectually exploring those ideas.  As a gifted software engineer interacting with other humans is not one of my strengths and I am attempting to get better at it.

Over the past couple of years, however, I felt the need to disassociate myself with two former friends.  One was quite close; the other lives two doors away from me.  Without getting into gossipy details, I feel there are a certain set of circumstances that it is okay to disassociate from another human.  One example might be that the friend was asking your assistance in carrying on an extra-marital affair.  Another might be that the friend had anger issues and regularly yelled at you, your wife, and your children.  But what if their actions were less harmful?  What if a person regularly insulted you?  Regularly asked you to work on his for profit business for free?   Ran a business where both he and the employees knowingly broke the law?  

So what principles should be applied to harmful human associations?  Where is the line drawn?  What kind of venues should be left open for reconciliation?

Peter B.

Answer: 

Dear Peter,

Thank you for writing with such self-awareness.  Many very competent people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics feel less capable in human relationships.  We think there should be a special course helping these talented people expand their considerable abilities into relationships.  We know of what we speak. One of us (that would be Rabbi Daniel) actually became an electronics engineer. Worried that 10 hours a day in a lab with instruments would encourage a disconnect from people he switched into sales and became what they called then, a tech-rep.

While we certainly speak glowingly of the importance of human relationships, we hope that no one interprets our words to mean that we should have unthinking interaction with others. In fact, one of the episodes on Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV Show Volume 2 discusses the dangers of associating with the wrong people.

Ancient Jewish wisdom even presents certain rare circumstances where an entire community should shun individuals. The instances you give of people trying to lasso you into participating in their wrongdoing or supporting their wrongdoing suggest good reasons for pulling away from those relationships. We’d just like to add that the “less harmful” examples you ask about sound quite harmful to us.

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My son has autism and can’t connect with others

August 25th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 25 comments

Question:

I have been listening to your podcasts & have found them to be very informative & fascinating. I just listened to your episode of 2/20/16 about Jewish attitudes towards money, business, etc. I was saddened, though, as I heard you discuss the 10 Commandments in terms of God’s 5 Commandments about “connections”. I am the mother of a young adult autistic son who has never been (and most likely will never be) able to connect to people well enough to make a friend, hold a job, or lead what society considers a productive life.

As a Catholic Christian, I believe my son has dignity as a child created in the image of God. The inability to connect with others, though, is central to what it means to be autistic. It is a heartbreaking & serious lifelong condition that limits his ability to be a part of the world around him.

As you quoted from Genesis, God said,” It is not good for man to be alone,” but this is my son’s reality. How does Jewish wisdom respond to the unique challenges associated with autism? With autism becoming so much more prevalent, I wonder if you might address this topic for me & other families living with autistic family members.

Thank you so much & God bless you & your work!

Ann R.

Answer:

Dear Ann,

Thank you for trusting us with such a sensitive question. We completely agree with you that your son’s life has intrinsic value and dignity by virtue of being created in God’s image. (more…)

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