Last evening our congregation was visited by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He spoke for 90 minutes about how to tame a "Savage People" living on an Island. He posed the question, "How do you do such a thing?" How do you tame a savage people without causing them to fear you for example if you pulled out a bic lighter, something none of the savages had ever seen. How would one accomplish the task without causing them to fall to the ground and worship you because of a bic lighter?
Rabbi Lapin went on to speak about the dynamics that would have to be employed. Setting all of us up he then asked, How do you tame a "Savage People" if you cannot reveal yourself?..........
The evening progressed with his brilliant analysis of the principles that are found and repeated in the book of Genesis over, and over again? Not so much that they are repeated but that they are repeated in the stories, in the lives. I cannot possibly with words "transmit" what he shared but what he shared and revealed were the principles being revealed in, and as a result of life and all that is living.
At one point Rabbi Lapin used Cain 's killing of Able to show a principle. Cain 's punishment was that the ground would yield no crops and that he would be constantly moving from one place to another. He used the relationship that was destroyed as a result of the inheritance due Cain and not Able to illustrate why God punished Cain in the manner that he did. A completely different construct of the brothers relationship; one I had never heard rendered before. As Rabbi Lapin developed the story he was also developing a principle. Cain destroyed the relationship over land and inheritance......Cain's very name in Hebrew means "ACQUIRED" He was acquiring the inheritance whether Able objected or not. The very reason that he killed his brother [the Land] now yielded no crops and he could not build upon it or enjoy any part of it....
He was a wonderer until he was show grace due to a repentant heart. The principle was now a tool to teach the Savage People rules.
Well, if you cannot be seen how do you transmit the principles? What if you deliver to the island a group of people who would teach the principles. They would do so by learning what was the outline that you provided to them about how you wanted things to be done...YOU wrote it in a book for them to follow and live. Many who would arrive would be killed obviously but the book and the commitment to the mission would eventually bring order to the savagery of the people....
[The mission is on going but look at what the ground has yielded as a result of following the book of principles and supporting those who are being transformed as a result.]
Rabbi Lapin showed to all of us a completely differing construct of how and why the book mattered. He implied that the book today has been translated by people who were not "transmitters" Suggesting that we return to the original group of people given that mission to teach the principles or at the very least return to the original meanings of the principle's placed into the book
Personally, I think we have to get to know the transmitters who have been "Transmitting" for 3500 years too!
Going back to Cain...Rabbi Lapin explained that Cain killed his brother thus (and for a time) killed his ability to realize the principles being revealed in the story but also in the lives found in the stories. This is why he built a city in order to insure relationships and fellowship. The very opposite of killing his brother in order that he would not have to share in the relationship with his brother. Cain ACQUIRED a child and raised the child among many. [If God wanted us to know about his wife he would have put it into the book} Cain learned a principle but at great cost (also a principle) He was given the ability to teach those principles to his son and the stories continue.
Interestingly, the book still fits on a desk top or a book shelf. The principles found with in it have not grown or changed.