Rabbi Discusses the Spiritual Side of Business


Members of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce have heard many presentations on business strategies, but today, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a San Francisco radio talk show host, took them to a higher plain.
Lapin, the author of “Thou Shalt Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money” and other books, is known for applying ancient Jewish wisdom to contemporary commerce. He shared with the group his theories on spirituality, business and “Finding Grandeur in the Daily Grind.”
Chamber members responded enthusiastically to Lapin. At least two have been regular listeners to his radio program distributed by KSFO 560 radio, in San Francisco. Learn more about Rabbi Lapin at www.rabbidaniellapin.com.

Lapin, speaking with a hint of a European accent and wearing a dapper fedora hat, began with an exercise. He had chamber members close one eye and try to touch each others fingers. Most missed, and that was Lapin’s point.
“One eye just isn’t enough to get a realistic perspective on the world,” said Lapin, who asserted people need to recognize both the physical and the spiritual world … especially in business.
Contemporary humans suffer from a major disconnect between the physical and the spiritual, Lapin said.
“I want you to be very clear, I’m not talking about church, I’m not talking about synagogue, I’m not talking about God,” he said.
Lapin was talking about the basic human yearning for a connection to “that which you can’t see, touch or measure.” By ignoring the importance of spiritual characteristics — such as honesty, loyalty, integrity — people miss the opportunity to meet the most elemental needs of their customers, employees, vendors and others associated with their business, he said.
Lapin used witty analogies and humor to make his case for the role of spirituality in life and commerce. At one point he said, “You’d have to be a blind beggar from Mongolia not to recognize that Jews are disproportionately good with money,” jokingly suggesting the need to research the possibility of a “Jewish money gene.”
Shifting to a serious tone, he said, the reason for their success as a group is that Jews around the world “have had complete and total access to the idea that the world is both physical and spiritual.”
Lapin does not promote Judaism per se, just its principles. He is a member of the non-profit Toward Tradition, a coalition of Jews, Christians and other Americans promoting “traditional faith-based principles” in a free market society.
Lapin argued for the spiritual integrity of business, saying it’s all about helping other humans beings, whether it’s through building homes, selling insurance or installing mufflers.
“The creation of wealth in and of itself is a noble activity,” he said, “as long as we understand the wealth is produced by doing things for other people.”
“He’s an excellent speaker,” said Joanie Hento of Coldwell Banker real estate, after Lapin’s speech. “You know, people just don’t think of their job in the world as a spiritual thing. That just adds a whole new dimension to our lives.”

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