By Rabbi Daniel Lapin
September 25, 2011
If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. How many times have you heard that? Yet many of us shy away from asking for what we need or want. Not asking is mostly the reason for not getting.
Here’s why we find it hard to ask.
down we don’t feel worthy of whatever we are asking for.
2) The opposite problem: We suffer from pride and can’t lower ourselves to role of supplicant.
3) Ignorance of our own goals and of who is in a position to help us move towards those goals.
4) Fear of rejection.
These fade away with the seven spiritual strategies of asking which Abraham demonstrates when he asks the sons of Chet for something important.
Abraham’s wife, Sarah, has just died. He wastes no time asking for what he needs:
And Abraham arose from the presence of his dead and spoke to the children of Chet saying,
“I am a resident alien among you, grant me an estate for a burial site with you that I may bury my dead from before me.” (Genesis 23:3-4)
The first four steps that Abraham exhibits are: (i) Ask promptly (ii) Introduce yourself (iii) Explicitly ask for what you want; and (iv) Provide a reason for your request.
The sons of Chet respond with vague sentiments that mean nothing.
How does Abraham’s handle this? Teaching lesson five, he displays respect. Rising from his seat and bowing to the sons of Chet, he focuses on a specific action item, asking them to intercede with the owner of the site he desires. (Genesis 23:7-9)
Ephron was present and immediately offered Abraham the land as a gift. However, Abraham wanted to close the deal on his own terms, so he again respectfully bows (Genesis 23:12) before firmly insisting that he wishes to pay for the land in a formal purchase.
Ephron, wishing to retain his posture of magnanimity while also getting his price, plays down the money, duplicitously dismissing the matter thus: land worth 400 pieces of silver (a fortune) is nothing between tycoons. Abraham listens very carefully and proceeds to weigh out the stated purchase price (Genesis 23:16) demonstrating the sixth lesson of asking: Listen as carefully as you speak.
However, the most valuable lesson that ancient Jewish wisdom reveals from the negotiation is this:
The term “sons of Chet” appears eight times in chapter 23 though some occurrences would have been better served by the preposition “they.”
In order to delve into this embedded secret, you need to know that Chet is not only the name of a son of Canaan (Genesis 10:15) but it’s also how we spell the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet whose numerical value is eight!
The sons of Chet = CHET = The letter Chet
In Jewish culture, the number eight has always signified our role in helping God shape His vision. For instance, circumcision on the eighth day indicates our partnering with God in perfecting a little boy.
With all their flaws, the sons of Chet helped actualize God’s vision for Abraham’s children to possess the land of Israel and are immortalized as such. Thus, our last lesson from the sons of Chet (whose name means eight and who appear eight times in the narrative) is that by asking for something that helps you, you can also be giving someone else the opportunity for fulfillment.
By acquiescing to your request, people partner with you in bringing you closer to your destiny. You owe it to them and to yourself to be willing to ask and to ask correctly using the seven permanent principles we’ve covered.
Abraham’s influence was far-reaching and to this day his descendants battle over the land he purchased that day. My audio CD, Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam, can help you understand how the path to peace is completely divorced from whatever takes place in the United Nations. You will be amazed at how Biblical prophecies from Genesis through the Book of Esther have unfolded in the recent past.
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© 2011 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