We began this series of Jewish business secrets by commenting on the response of a religious leader outside the faith to what he saw in the lives of the Christians he knew. Ghandi loved the teachings of Jesus, but rejected the faith because of his observation that the lives of the followers of Jesus didn’t match the standard.
Ghandi’s words seemed to express disappointment. Perhaps his take on the Christians he knew was a distorted representation. One only has to look at the track record of anti-Semitism to know that distorted responses can accompany an identity in God.
Still, the world is looking. The world is hungry to see the reality of God operating through a people. It is an identity thing.
The identity of Jews is encased by their history and legacy. Jews are generally viewed as a prophetic people of God, a people of destiny. It punctuates why understanding the history included in the ancient Jewish writings is so important. As a people, the Jews have an incredible track record of disproportionate accomplishments. Within this context they have gained an irrefutable reputation as a people of business.
Over the centuries Jews have left their mark of positive influence on the major civilizations of which they have been a part. Their skill as merchants, brokers, bankers and traders have given birth to middle classes in societies that previously only had peasant and ruling classes. Their creativity and contributions to humanity during just this last generation have changed the world for the better. Whether it is their impact on the societies in which they have lived or the standards by which they have defined their communities, Jews as a whole have walked the talk characterizing their faith.
Jesus Himself said that we would be known by our fruits.
Within historic Jewish writings is the story of a craftsman, an entrepreneur, whose name was Bezalel. The story of Bezalel illustrates how a person’s gift can open the door for opportunity. It shows the importance of using one’s gift for a broader, more enduring purpose that serves the community and posterity. It is an example of the importance of the simple things, but simple from the standpoint of stewardship and the faithfulness that walks before it runs and evolves into excellence. It is in this type of simplicity that the expectations of the wise are confounded.
The story of Bezalel also illustrates how there is a point in the process of becoming so excellent in your gift, that a spiritual dimension from God becomes a part of the equation. It is written that God called Bezalel by name and filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in knowledge and understanding of skillful works and of devising all kinds of craftsmanship.
Bezalel, who lived during the days of Moses, was from the house of Judah. His story is an apt representation of the points we have been making in this series on Jewish business secrets. It unveils how the dimension of the seen world can be enhanced by the unseen. It punctuates the prophecy given by Moses that if the people of Israel would adhere to following the Lord, that they would be the head and not the tail and would be above all the other nations of the earth. So it has been in this distinction, as a prophetic people of God, that their potential and legacy as disproportionate achievers has been held.
A People Known by Their Fruits
To illustrate, Jews have been awarded 27 percent of all Nobel prizes since 1950, following the destruction of a third of their population in the Holocaust. The Encyclopedia Britannica has a section on “Great Inventions.” Jews have accounted for the defibrillator, the pacemaker, instant photography, holography and the videotape.
Steven Pease’s research, “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement”, notes that of Fortune’s 2003 list of the 25 most powerful people in business, 24 percent were Jewish. Jews pioneered the ready-to-wear garment industry. Over half the department stores in America were started or run by Jews. Specialty retailing is laced with names that have been created by Jews: Gap, Limited, Men’s Warehouse, Home Depot, Ritz Camera, Bed Bath & Beyond.
Jews are dominant in diamonds and the diamond trade. Starbucks in coffee, Haagen-Daz and Baskin Robbins in ice cream, Fairmont, Lowes, Hyatt, Helmsley and Wynn in hotels are all Jewish operations, along with the creating and shaping of every major Hollywood studio. In the major TV networks, only ABC was not started by a Jew. The legacy extends to cable, to publishing, finance and real estate.
The world’s most successful search engine (Google) and software (Microsoft) are Jewish creations. The second largest software company (Oracle) has a co-founder and head who is Jewish. So it has been with Dell, Intel, Yahoo, eBay and Qualcomm.
A third of leading symphony orchestras have been conducted by Jews. Jews have created roughly two-thirds of the longest-running musicals on Broadway. Almost four out of ten of the Hollywood directors awarded Oscars have been Jews. Jews have over half the Pulitzer Prizes for non-fiction. Almost 40 percent of Business Week’s America’s fifty most generous benefactors are Jewish families and individuals.
Each of these examples reflect disproportionate achievement, by a people, whose numbers are less than one-quarter of one percent of the world’s population.
The Nature of the Dynamic
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the Jewish phenomenon, it has been during our day, that there has emerged a global movement to glean the truths and the ways of the Jews. This awareness has extended to nations like Vietnam, who have reached out to Israel. With such unexpected alliances is a growing recognition of the legacy of the Jews.
It is a legacy of power. Yet it is a different type of power. It is the power that closes the gap with creativity and discovery for the good of mankind.
In talking about gaps, it is pertinent to address the gap that Jesus, as the Jewish Messiah, came to bridge. He made His Jewish identity very clear. His teachings gave focus to the purity of the issues that had become muddied. He advised His followers to give heed to the foundations held by the pharisaical Jewish leaders, but to be wary of what he referred to as the leaven of the Pharisees: the speculative religious add-ons unnecessary to know God and walk in His ways. He referred to these religious leaders of His own people who misused their positions and power for personal gain and elitism, as hypocrites.
Jesus gave focus to truths that had long been foundational to what have made Jews distinctive. He pointed to their destiny, to a future that would fulfill the promises of God to His people and restore the order God had originally intended for those who believed. He dealt with the proper use of power, of righteous power, in a corrupt world.
He also talked about restoration, the restoration of the foundations to form a society He referred to as the Kingdom of God. As already noted, He did all this in the context of a distinctive Jewish identity. The Christianity that Ghandi found so compelling was foundationally a Jewish sect.
As a culture operating within the confines of the dominant cultures of each major era, Judaism has again and again been challenged with both cultural and economic survival.
Yet, the power to prevail has been inherent in the foundations passed on by Abraham and put into writing by Moses. Together with the history, the wisdom, the psalms, along with the words of the prophets, these collected writings are a treasure trove of the secrets to the exploits and destiny of Abraham’s descendants and all others who would believe. They are the basis to why Jews have been known as the people of business, a people of destiny.
In this process prophetically, Jesus became the first-born of the needed spiritual restoration leading to the destiny of Abraham’s lineage. Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew, spoke of our day as the beginning of another phase of this restoration. This dynamic of restoration, the fulfillment of the Kingdom, is at its roots a very Jewish belief. It references a time coming when the Messiah would reign as King, and His forebearer David, as prince in the land promised to Abraham’s descendants.
Polluting the Power
Yet, within a generation of Yeshua’s, of Jesus’ life, there arose problems. As a movement, the first generation of Christianity reflected incredible spiritual power. The impact they made was described as turning the world upside down. Whereas the strength came from the foundations and culture, from within, so there also came an internal weakness that had been inherent in the Jewish people over the centuries: the desire to be like everyone else. This weakness began manifesting in the early church.
Within a generation of the time of Jesus, there arose those like the Nicolatains who were enticing followers away from the Jewish foundations, identity and cultural roots. Together with those who wielded their power from short-sighted perspectives and too often for their own gain with speculative add-ons, this vibrant new movement experienced growing defilement and began losing its once potent spiritual power as it became more and more institutionalized.
Bringing the Legacy into Fullness
Nevertheless, within this last generation have been emerging the keys to this restoration. They are the keys to restoring what was promised to Abraham’s descendants, the keys to the time Jesus spoke of when a great shift would take place in the world and the model exemplified by Abraham reflecting an economic, trust society with God at the center would come into place. Together with the foundations will come the legacy and the power.
The legacy will involve a focus on God that was outlined in the foundations, rather than on add-on speculative doctrines. The legacy will be defined by the culture, of being a prophetic people of God. It will be a movement that goes beyond institutional and generational constraints, a movement tied to a different power, the pure power of the Creator.
Once again, it is the simple things that confound the wise. This movement will operationally be built on foundations of business-incubator and community-builder minyans, the small gatherings that flow in the mantle of being blessed to be a blessing. There will be an explosion of purposeful gifts, reflecting the scope represented by the Jewish achievements noted by Mr. Pease.
Congregations will form around allied minyans and communities will be the outgrowth of congregations working toward common ends. Congregations and communities will be centered on and based on such common purposes, rather than being driven by doctrinal stances. The reality of God’s presence will negate the need for the precepts of men.
With a world seeking the reality of God through a people, this will be the light on the hill that cannot be hidden. This movement will reflect a different way of thinking, which creates and brings increase. This is the thinking that has prevailed in Jewish culture over the millennia. This legacy will bring restoration at both congregational and community levels. All this will dovetail with the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, with its pivot point being the land promised to Abraham, the land of promise, Israel.
This is the pathway unfolding for those who discern and embrace the legacy of the Jews. This is the legacy of a people whose remarkable feats have astounded the world with blessings and goodness tied to a destiny of being restorers and rebuilders of a world gone amok. It is in this legacy that a connection and purpose that transcends time is actuated.
The Legacy and Destiny
So what does all this mean in today’s world in terms of Jewish business secrets, for the Jew and the non-Jew?
We return to the story of Joseph and the Jewish dynamic of being a culture within a culture. We’ve already gone into detail in a previous session about Joseph’s betrayal at the hand of his brothers and how he came to be in Egypt. We covered his 13 years of slavery and prison in which Joseph maintained his strong identity in God, as well as operating faithfully as a prophetic steward for those he served. Then came the time when his prophetic gift, evident to all those he served, was needed by Pharaoh.
Pharaoh was amazed, stating there was no one like Joseph in whom resided the Spirit of God. From that an alliance was formed in which Joseph became the second in charge of Egypt, the steward over the resources of the land. What Egypt faced was a time of crisis.
Yet Joseph’s anticipatory response to preparing for those times brought great blessing to the house of Pharaoh and the house of Israel. It was a time of destiny. Not only was disaster averted for each, but the destiny of the descendants of Abraham was restored, from the impact of the digressions committed by Joseph’s older brothers.
Then we have another issue that began with the generation following reputedly the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon. It involved the dispersion among the nations of ten of the tribes of Israel and the destiny foretold for the nations. Solomon’s successor refused the overtures of the ten northern tribes that David had brought together with the House of Judah. Then, despite prophetic intervention, the man who became leader of the northern tribes, Jeroboam, led them to separate themselves. It began the dispersion and assimilation of these descendants of Abraham into the nations. Yet, by the words of the Jewish prophets, their destiny in God has been foretold as being restored in the latter days.
Jesus made the point that the mantle He bore was first to go to the Jew. From the Jew would come the fulfillment of the destinies that God foretold Abraham would go to all the peoples of the earth. Not unlike the days of Joseph, the days are close at hand when there will be alliances between forerunners like Joseph and gatekeepers like Pharaoh, whose efforts will avert disruptions and maintain the legacy. So there has been an awakening taking place today, with the Jews, with the Diaspora of the Jews, to the great dispersion of the descendants of Abraham and then to all who would give honor to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is a time of destiny.
The Legacy and Restoration
It is written that He will give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace. The legacy of the Jews is the legacy of Jesus, who clearly stated that his mission was to put an axe to the root of evil and restore the foundations outlined by the writings of Moses and the prophets.
This is the legacy. It is the root system and lens through which we can better understand this dynamic we’ve referred to as Jewish business secrets. The father of a Jewish friend I once worked with founded Godfather’s Pizza. Willy Theisen was described in an article as one who had gone far afield to follow his passion for business. He has been an entrepreneur through and through. Once he became fixed on an opportunity, whether of his own creation or when leveraging an existing one, he has applied his high energy, long vision, laser focus, risk tolerance and untiring persistence to translate his dreams into reality. (Leo Adam Biga, “Omaha’s Pitchman,” Omaha Magazine, May/June 2012) This description describes a key aspect of the Jewish DNA. Yet, as it has been for centuries, it was more than just business.
The demonstration of the disproportionate fruits represented by the Jews is another prism into this legacy. It is a prism by which we close the gap of the broken seen world with that of the undefiled unseen dimension. It is in this legacy of restoration that the swirl of chaos and destruction so rampant in this world will be subdued.
So then, what is the response in terms of Jewish business secrets? The Jewish perception of reality comes from within the community and from above. This perception of reality is foundational to the dynamic of disproportionate achievement.
The Jewish response to reality is laced with a creative, community-building mind-set. It goes back to Abraham who passed on that his descendants would bear the blessings of God to be a blessing. It represents the priority given to the community and to posterity.
So, the Jewish process of stewarding reality involves commitment to the community and future generations. That means that each business is designed to serve and make a difference. This commitment operates on a level beyond the individual. It nurtures destiny not only for the individual but for the benefit of the community of those who share in their identity. Jews understand what it means to cultivate God’s blueprint within the incubator of community.
Our past sessions together on Jewish business secrets have uncovered a range of insights tied to the amazing legacy and exploits of the Jews. We’ve gone beyond foundations, the gifts and a process of thinking that creates and brings increase. We’ve tapped the strategy of community that nurtures the destinies of its members from one generation to the next.
We live in a time, when we again face the disruptions of cyclic change that characterize the many muddied ways of this world. The legacy as a people of destiny is in the realignment and purification of the defilements. Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse in the Prologue of her compelling book “Jews and Power” tells the story of a Jewish mother in 1939 Warsaw. The time followed Warsaw’s German capture, but preceded the Jews being walled up in the ghetto. Seeing her little boy being bullied by some German soldiers, this mother left the safety of her courtyard and fearlessly ignoring the solders, she told her son as she rescued him, “Come inside the courtyard and be a human being.” Implied in the translation of the instructions to her son was his response to what was happening around him and how “to become a decent human being.”
Beyond budgets and plans, at the core of Jewish business secrets, is the Jewish response to the status quo. In practical terms it is a response that gives honor to the God of Israel and His ways, while walking out the fulfillment of the legacy of those who, from generation to generation, have been bearing the fruits of the mantle, as the descendants of Abraham.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
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2016 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org