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Wind in your Sails












By Rabbi Daniel Lapin
February 10, 2013

I visited many cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel last year, and I traveled through many airports while delivering over fifty speeches. (I counted them here.)

During my travels, I frequently rent a car. Sometimes from Hertz, other times from the smaller companies, Avis and National. Since I rarely see Enterprise at an airport, I was surprised to discover that it is more than twice the size of Hertz, with more than twice the number of cars and rental locations as well as twice the revenue.

What I discovered about Enterprise not only granted me insight into the car rental business but it also reminded me that whatever your background, if you tap into God’s wisdom, as Jack Taylor did, you too will prosper.

If you don’t see Enterprise at the airport, how did it grow into such a large and profitable company?

Hertz situated their offices in airports and hotels while Enterprise locations are in town. Enterprise owns the off-airport car rental market. While your own car is being repaired, you probably drive an Enterprise car. If you ever need an extra car, call Enterprise; they’ll bring it to you.

After serving in World War II, Jack Taylor was working as a car salesman when he conceived of a different kind of car rental company. Locals wanting to rent a car had to get a ride to the nearest airport to do so. Jack started renting cars out of the dealership he worked at and served people by taking their cars to them. Despite Hertz’s forty-year lead in car rental, Jack spotted a need and filled it.

He gradually built his idea into Enterprise. “Take care of your customers and employees first, and profits will follow,” is a timeless Torah truth and making it his slogan transformed Jack’s life.

The Jewish calendar is largely based on the lunar cycle. Ancient Jewish wisdom reveals that Abraham assigned a sign to each month. The holiday of Chanukah falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev while the holiday of Purim comes in the month of Adar. We are between these two holidays right now. The start of this period, Kislev, is identified with the sign of the Rainbow. (The Greeks later mistakenly called it the archer’s bow - Sagittarius.) The rainbow is caused by sunlight and water, two requirements for both plants and people to thrive.

Abraham assigned to the month of Adar, the month of Purim, the sign of Fish. Fish serve as a sign of blessing in ancient Jewish wisdom. Unlike birds that raid our orchards and animals that can be pests or threats, fish do nothing to harm us; furthermore, they are readily available to us as food. In addition, they usually swim in large schools, representing connection. The Hebrew name for Adar’s sign is even in the plural to highlight this point.

Both Chanukah and Purim celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair and happiness over distress. During these months of short days and long nights, they remind each of us that darker days today can be instantly transformed into bright tomorrows.

This period also reminds us that the pathway to transformation starts with growth. At its start, on Chanukah, we light one additional light on each of its eight days. (See Thought Tools Volume 2, ‘Hey Buddy, Got a Light?’)The period culminates in the sign of the fish reminding us that connecting with many people and serving them leads to hope and happiness.

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I find delivering speeches exhilarating because it connects me with many people and allows me to serve them. In addition to serving, I appreciate learning from others as well. One business mentor whose wisdom I value is Noah Alper.

His transformation from anti-religious to believing Jew paralleled his transformation from poverty to phenomenal business success. His enjoyable book, Business Mensch, tells his story and the lessons he learned the hard way as it provides concrete, practical guidance for anyone wanting to flourish financially. I encourage you to get a copy and we are making it available at a substantial discount this week. (Pair it with my own Thou Shall Prosper for a winning duo!)

2013 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.

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What I discovered about Enterprise not only granted me insight into the car rental business but it also reminded me that whatever your background, if you tap into God’s wisdom, as Jack Taylor did, you too will prosper.

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