Rabbi Daniel Lapin
March 4, 2012
We don’t issue instruction manuals to our guests. Nonetheless, over the years we’ve welcomed many visitors whose presence was instantly comfortable for our entire family. We’ve also suffered the ordeal of guests who couldn’t depart quickly enough for us.
There was nothing intrinsically objectionable about the unwelcome guests; they just seemed clueless about our family culture. They were insensitive to the refined tone and tranquil atmosphere we try to cultivate in our home. They missed the cues of mutual respect that shapes our family. Their presence was awkward; but our wonderful guests tuned in to our family’s soul music. This made us feel comfortable which, in turn, made them feel at home.
Smart job applicants study in advance and during their first interview reveal how effectively they resonate with their future employer’s culture.
Some men, hoping to form a serious relationship have no idea of how to tune into the woman they are seeing. By contrast, their more successful brethren achieve romantic rapture with women who feel ‘understood.’
Leonardo da Vinci was so attuned to the laws of nature that he designed an airplane four hundred years before the materials necessary for building one came into existence.
Clearly, being a welcome guest, a successful suitor, a happy employee, and yes, perhaps even an accomplished inventor depend upon becoming super sensitive to your surroundings. This is what Abraham so clearly did.
God regularly notified Abraham about important impending events in his life. For instance, God told Abraham that his descendants would one day serve foreign masters (Egypt) and that they would eventually leave bearing great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-15) God offered Abraham advance information about having a son. (Genesis 18:10) After musing about keeping Abraham informed, God lets him know that Sodom is marked for destruction. (Genesis 18:17)
However, in an astonishing omission, God neglects to tell Abraham about the climax of the Exodus, the seminal moment of Hebrew history-the Revelation at Mount Sinai. It is hard to imagine that after telling Abraham about a host of impending events of lesser importance, God would fail to notify the father of the Jewish people about his plan to provide them with the Torah, a constitution that would become the basis of all civilization.
God told Abraham that his descendants would go into Egypt, that they’d come out of Egypt, and that they’d inherit the land of Israel. But not a murmur of the earthshattering day on which God revealed Himself and conveyed a message to mankind through Moses?
This only makes sense if Abraham independently already sensed God’s codex of reality and couldn’t imagine anyone needing a book to figure it out. Sure enough, that is exactly what ancient Jewish wisdom teaches. To Abraham, God’s world made perfect sense. His integrated vision of both spiritual and physical harmony revealed to him how the world really worked.
Which is why Abraham responded as he did when God, who had been silent for several generations, suddenly spoke and asked him to start a journey whose destination would be disclosed in the future (Genesis 12:1). Abraham did not call out in alarm, “Hey, who’s that?” No, he immediately complied because in the bigger picture of reality to which he was super sensitive, it all made sense.
Similarly when God asked him to circumcise himself (Genesis 17:11) Abraham didn’t blurt out, “Say what? You want me to cut myself where?” It all made perfect sense. The notion that his descendants would one day need an instruction manual called Torah would have been incomprehensible.
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There are folks who train their memories and those who train their powers of observation. We can also train our sensitivity to the world God created and to the people and events shaping our lives. God gave us the Torah to guide us.
What better first step in gaining a deeper appreciation of reality than delving into a part of Abraham’s life which took place before God ever spoke to him? My audio CD Tower of Power, on sale online, uncovers the underlying tension between Abraham and Nimrod’s views of the world; a friction which still exists today. Aligning yourself with Abraham’s understanding will add greatly to your success and joy of living.
© 2012 Rabbi Daniel Lapin - All Rights Reserved
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Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America's Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, best-selling author and host of the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Show on San Francisco’s KSFO. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths. In 2007 Newsweek magazine included him in its list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis.
You can contact Rabbi Daniel Lapin through his website.
Web Site: www.rabbidaniellapin.com