The Magic of Many


If it takes 1 man 1 hour to dig a ditch, how long will it take 2 men to dig the same ditch? “Half-an-hour” is not the correct answer. 


Depending upon whether they help or hinder one another, there are two possible right answers:  More than an hour or less than half an hour.


If they are not committed to the work or to each other they will both become demoralized. As they grate on one other, each will work less effectively.


But if the two men enjoy one another and love the project, they will accomplish the job much more quickly. Spurring each other to greater exertion and developing efficiencies will speed the project. 


In this fashion, two colleagues might get a job done in 20 minutes.  Four committed individuals working as partners could accomplish that job perhaps in 7 or 8 minutes.


After two Sabbath meals with many guests, our kitchen would look a mess. Saturday night, seven children had the task of restoring order.


Occasionally we would hear griping and sniping.  The job was unpleasant and took forever.


But most times teamwork was high.  We’d hear singing and laughter. The kitchen would be sparkling early enough for an evening activity.  In those conditions, seven children achieved the goal in a tenth of the time one person would have taken.


Scripture reveals this life reality here:


Five from among you will pursue one hundred

and one hundred from among you will pursue ten thousand…

(Leviticus 26:8)


Ancient Jewish wisdom points out that the proportions are wrong. If 5 can pursue 100, 10 can pursue 200 and 100 should be able to pursue 2,000 not 10,000.


The Torah is not casual about details like this.  It is revealing how the world really works.  God built us to thrive and succeed when we connect with others.  This effect is exponential. 


If you have 10 friends who like and trust you, you derive way more than double the blessings brought by having only 5 such friends. Forging new friendships brings benefits far out of proportion to the numbers.


Have you ever arrived early at a party or social gathering to find that you are among a tiny handful of attendees. You drift around awkwardly silently praying for the other guests to turn up. When they do and the numbers have say, tripled, the atmosphere is not merely three times better than it had been earlier.


If you are in sales, (and in one way or another, most of us are) doubling the number of customers, clients, patients, or prospects in your book will do far more for you than merely doubling your sales.


You can only make twice the amount of apple sauce from 8 apples than you can make from 4.  To our great potential benefit, if we employ Scriptural spiritual strategies, human capital works in a very different way.


Connecting computers into a network is just a physical act of plugging in.  The tools are simple.  Hooking up an irrigation network is also physical; using the right tools, just connect up the pipes and hoses.  But connecting people is entirely spiritual, and the tools are not simple.


These tools include constantly creating and discharging obligations; understanding the drives and desires built into us, learning to listen; and many others.  Since the paramount purpose of the Torah is to facilitate relationship building both between people as well as between us and God, not surprisingly, that is where we find the tools.  Even the Ten Commandments are most easily understood as a set of five tools for establishing connection.




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