Rabbi Daniel Lapin
November 18, 2012
My just concluded United Kingdom speaking tour began with an address to Citygate Church in London the night I arrived. Dispelling jetlag with adrenaline, I taught about how much of the Torah emphasizes God’s desire for His children to nurture strong and emotionally authentic relationships with one another.
I showed how God wants families and communities to not merely to live together but to be utterly bound up with one another. I condemned the style of social organization that turns humans into socio-economic cogs incapable of genuine connection and warmth.
The next morning I made a pilgrimage to Chartwell, the beloved home of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine. There, among the many moving artifacts of two remarkable lives, was much correspondence between husband and wife. Written with ink on paper, the letters reveal warmth of feeling and closeness that Churchill’s political nemeses probably never suspected he possessed.
In our email age in which electronic communication has all but supplanted ink on paper, it is easy to overlook the great value in a handwritten letter. Precisely because it is so effortless and inexpensive to dispatch an email, by comparison the value of an ink on paper letter has risen even higher. In an age when we communicate online with all our friends at once, a handwritten letter emphasizes, “I really care about you.”
To many of us, life as we’ve blessedly known it seems precarious right now. Let’s take a lesson from the years preceding the Flood.
And it was, when man began to increase… (Genesis 6:1)
In Hebrew, the word for “increase” is ‘laRoV’. The word is similar to the word for quarrel, ‘RiV’. In Hebrew, words that share core letters beg to be examined together. Ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that this phrase doesn’t refer to population size. It is describing men who have lost a shared moral framework and see each other as rivals rather than partners. Ten friends is a stimulating group; ten enemies is a mob.
The next verse goes on to say how women became the victims of this lack of fraternal feeling. Economically, sexually and socially, things rapidly went downhill from there.
Now is an appropriate time to make sure that you are building real relationships. Writing handwritten letters is one helpful tool. Here are five tips:
1. Obtain a nice fountain pen rather than using the promotional ballpoint pen from your last hotel room.
2. Acquire some good quality notepaper rather than using an 8 ½ X 11 piece of white paper you removed from the copier machine. Get matching envelopes.
3. Keep pen, paper, envelopes and stamps together in some handy location so that when you consider writing a letter, you can instantly follow up with the action.
4. Write alone and in silence, far from your computer and phone. You’ll enjoy seeing how pen and paper stimulate your brain once you’ve banished the electronics.
5. Think about what you wish to achieve and plan an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Write a draft; hone it and write a final copy.
You’ll get better and better at handwriting letters; your penmanship and style will both quickly improve. Don’t allow thoughts of posterity to inhibit you; not all your letters will be worth keeping and not all will be kept. Every now and again, you’ll write a gem that will show up years into the future and bring delight to others.
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We humans keep on fruitlessly attempting to improve life by abandoning God’s basic principles for successful living. In my audio Cd, The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah, I reveal how the Biblical chapters describing Noah and the events leading to the Flood emphasize the social and economic calamities that follow the erosion of authentic human relationship.
Noah’s life provides hope for us and delivers advice on how to protect our children from being swept away by the wrong ideas that surround us. His path to safety can be ours as well. I urge you to take advantage of the sale we are running right now and learn how to prepare your own life-saving ark.
© 2012 Rabbi Daniel Lapin - All Rights Reserved
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