I subscribe to Thought Tools by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He is a conservative like me, and has some interesting advice based on the Torah. It doesn’t seem to matter that he is Jewish and I am Christian. In my opinion conservative Christians and conservative Jews are natural allies.
Rabbi Lapin lives near Seattle and near where I used to live.
The idea of endless, frustrating conversation reminds me of the Chinese. I’m thinking of North Korea, and lately Vietnam, Philippines and Japan. This all surrounds the problems associated with China. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The conflict in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam and Philippines. Then there is the conflict between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands. Why can’t these problems be solved through negotiations? And what is the solution?
Ever found yourself frustrated by endless conversation while you knew that time for critical action was passing? You need the roadmap to transformation.
Genesis chapter 46 enumerates Jacob’s children and grandchildren by name, arriving at a total of seventy souls who came to Egypt. All is as expected until we arrive at Jacob’s fifth son, Dan.
Dan’s sons: Chushim.
That’s right, Dan’s “sons” suggests a plural, yet there is only one—Chushim. Strangely, his name ends in the manner that masculine plural nouns end in Hebrew—IM. So yeladIM means boys; sefarIM means books, and susIM means horses. Though Dan only has one son, ChushIM, there is a hint in the ending of his name that he is actually plural—two people.
We see one additional hint at a duality in the tribe of Dan:
When blessing his sons, Jacob compares Dan to a snake:
Dan will be a serpent on the highway, a viper by the path…
By the end of Deuteronomy, Moses compares Dan to a lion:
…Dan is a lion cub…
From snake to lion is quite a leap. It certainly seems that Dan has undergone major transformation in the few centuries separating the two verses. In fact he is assigned a prestigious and protective post north of the Tabernacle during the desert journey. (Numbers 2:25)
What started this transformation? Ancient Jewish wisdom describes a rather strange story. When Jacob’s sons arrived at the cave to bury their father (Genesis 50:13), their Uncle Esau confronted them saying, “That burial plot belongs to me.” The stunned sons reminded Esau that he sold his inheritance to Jacob, but he refused to give ground. They then dispatched Naftali to Egypt to fetch the contract to prove that the plot indeed belonged to Jacob. Meanwhile they waited.
Chushim, the son of Dan was deaf and did not hear the entire discussion. When he asked, “What’s the delay?” his uncles explained how Esau was holding up the burial. This outraged Chushim. “Must my grandfather lie in disgrace until Naftali returns?” he yelled. He immediately killed Esau.
What caused Chushim to have such an instantaneous and strong reaction?
Lengthy conversation and negotiation can have a numbing effect. It can gradually erode the certainty of one’s position. One begins to “understand” the other side. Think of how many today have begun to “understand” those who would destroy Israel.
By contrast, the deaf Chushim who heard none of the interaction with Esau knew only that, “Grandpa lies in disgrace.” He recognized Esau’s intent for what it truly was—a desire to remove Jacob and his descendants from continuing the heritage of Abraham and Isaac. The delay was for the sole purpose of demeaning Grandfather Jacob rather than a valid confusion over a contract.
We are certainly not meant to model our behavior exactly on that of Chushim. However, those of us with ambition to improve our lives can learn from him. Sometimes we need to transform ourselves radically from snakes to lions as it were. Such transformation is best brought about through action rather than talking, arguing, organizing or coordinating. Often we can get ourselves out of the rut by a convulsive leap rather than by endlessly discussing detailed drawings and descriptions of the obstacles in our path. Chushim really was two people—Chushim the First before transformation and Chushim the Second thereafter.
We are intended to use everything in Scripture to help improve every aspect of our lives. We are to improve our relationships with people, with God, and with our property. We are to improve our health, our moods, and our usage of time. One of the most effective resources that we make available is our two-volume Thought Tool Set. On sale for only $15 for both books right now, the set contains over one hundred inspiring and motivating tips, tools, and techniques for life improvement and personal transformation, and can help you and those you love. Reading, contemplating and talking about these essays will help you know when the time to talk is past and action is needed. Act now by clicking here for more information.
Thought Tools by
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
The above strategy suggests that we need to get tough with China. China’s intent is not friendly to others. Unfortunately, to get tough means to get ready for nuclear war. It’s obvious that the US and the West are on another planet concerning a strategy for dealing with China. The US wants to disarm and eliminate its nuclear arsenal, and Europe is a joke. The US pivot is a joke too. There is really no strategy for effectively dealing with China.
Now that you know the US really has no effective strategy for dealing with China, we should not expect things to get better. It is likely that the problems surrounding China will get worse. And indeed, that is what we have seen over the last 10 years. The problems with China have been just getting worse. China does very little to contain North Korea, and it has been getting more and more aggressive in the South China Sea and East China Sea, which includes aggressive acts against our allies – Japan and Philippines. China has effectively declared the Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Islands as its own. It has simply declared these islands as its own. It has also warned that if Japan challenges its vessels or planes, then that will likely lead to a military conflict.
China seizes the Senkaku Islands by stealth, then declares any Japanese complaints could lead to a military conflict – war.
Where in the hell is the US in all of this?
At a minimum there should be serious trade implications over this between the US and China. Also, Chinese leaders must be publicly challenged over their behavior. The behavior of US leaders is just insane and asking for more trouble.