Just a Simple Hebrew Okie

As I try and help shed some light on the spiritual wisdom found in the Torah to the masses, I have a confession to make to all of you: I’m kind of an idiot. While I’ve studied Torah and have read multiple volumes of different holy books, much of my perspective comes from being a perpetual student who is constantly learning; but the more I learn, the more I find out how little I know.
Some of you might be disappointed to find out that I’m no Torah genius, but rather a simple Okie Hebrew who studies the Torah for the simple nuggets of wisdom and truth. Actually, if any of my Torah observance seems more rigid than the popular interpretation, it’s usually because of my own ignorance in the reason why certain mitzvot (commandments) exist. My aim is not to wow people with my intellect; a task which I think I would continually fail to be successful at performing. My aim is to be able to provide just a dash of peculiar perspective on the Hebrew Scriptures, those who have been inspired by them, and what relevance the Hebrew Scriptures have with our modern society.  
I find it’s important to celebrate how little I know and use it as a constant motivation to never stop learning. 
“When you’re through learning, you’re through.” 
– Will Rogers
World Famous Okie Philosopher
If you have any topics that you’d like to see discussed on this blog or that you’d like this simple Okie Hebrew to address, feel free to submit them to me and I’ll do my best to address them.

I Couldn't Care Less, But You Couldn't Tell More

A day in the life of a marketing content writer can be very fun and entertaining, but there are other days when this is not as much the case. Though I greatly enjoy writing about companies with products or services of which I’m personally excited or that are even close to my heart, for every one of those, there are at least five to ten customers with products or services that don’t really apply to me. While everyone has teeth, writing about the importance of flossing for a dentist’s blog isn’t really my idea of a thrilling experience. I get as annoyed as the next guy when a parking lot is torn up with line striping that is hard to see, but the prospect of writing compelling content about a parking lot seal coating and line striping company doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing. In order to combat this potential mental stagnation brought about by what can seem to be a drab writing assignment, there are a handful of helpful tactics I employ on a daily basis to ensure that each piece of content I write is as compelling as the last.

One of the first methods for generating compelling content on a subject that might not be very compelling to me is putting myself in the shoes of the person who started the company. In most instances, business owners are not greedy money grabbers, but instead, are people who feel very passionate about the products and services that their company provides. The reason that they are not writing marketing content themselves is because they are either too busy running a successful company or feel that they could benefit from the skills of a professional wordsmith to articulate what their company is all about to the public. In either case, I feel it is my personal responsibility to project the level of passion and enthusiasm that they would if they were the ones writing about their company. Writing about a company like it is my own company is one way I like to add the spunk and glow to the material and makes the content that much more compelling.

Being a simple guy, most of the research I do in order to write blogs or other content isn’t research I would normally do in my free time. Heck, sometimes the blog I’m writing isn’t even the blog I’d be interested in reading. How does someone who has little personal connection with the content write it for those who do? The answer is simple; get interested. Before writing these pieces, I like to stop for a moment and imagine a person Googling this subject in search of answers. Before they even hit the “enter” key, I try my hardest to become them. When I do this, new questions arise that I wouldn’t have thought to ask before and lead me down new paths that hadn’t previously existed in my mind. Suddenly I really am wondering if my dog has the symptoms associated with having fleas while back in the real world, I’m a cat person.

Though I walk in the door every morning as a writer for Quantus Creative, I take on many roles during the day. In the mornings, I could be a Persian rug dealer. Around lunch time, though I keep kosher, I could be looking for the best lobster in town. By the afternoon, I could be selling motorcycle accessories even though I’ve never so much as sat on a motorcycle. Closing in on quitting time, I could be on a hunt for the best Friday night drink specials though I’ll probably over at my in-laws’ around the Shabbat table. There’s no Ouji board in my desk drawer, but some days after work, my feet are certainly sore from writing in so many different people’s shoes all day long. There is no individual in the world that is genuinely interested in every subject under the sun so being a successful content writer in the marketing world requires a strong ability to play make-believe and pretend that you are. 

– Ken

God is One. I Am Not.

It is common for people, especially Americans, to sell short the Oneness of our Creator. At face value, the concept doesn’t seem all that exciting. There is only one God; big whoop, right? It is with this grade-school mindset of God’s Oneness that I would like to tackle and dismantle this description of God that has most likely made you bored of this post already. 

I came from Christianity, which does say that God is One, but that also that God is three. Because of this, I could never quite grab a hold of the magnitude of what it means that God is, in fact, One. I also think part of this is because of Christianity’s need to have pictures of images of God; which are really images of us because, supposedly, the “image of God” is meant to mean that He probably had one head, two arms, two legs, a torso, etc.. 

The other reason why I was never able to fully grasp the weight of the Oneness of God is because I was reading it all wrong; literally. Understanding what the Torah meant in Deuteronomy 6:4 cannot be understood with the common understanding of the English translation. Most people are used to this thought pattern which is expressed in the “God’s Word” translation of the Bible: 

“Listen, Israel; The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God.” 

Sounds good, right? Did it wake you up at all? Me neither. I started nodding off in my chair just reading it. Why? This isn’t what the Torah says! 

The Torah says this: 
שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה ׀ אחד
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD is One.” 

What is the difference? Here is the difference: 

You see, having a single God is nothing new and doesn’t expand our minds at all. We have one President, nations have one king, we each have one father, and having One God is nothing new. But the fact that God is One changes everything. 

You see the sky? The God is the sky. You see the ground? That’s God, too. Look at your own hand. God. Look at your lunch. God. Even when you look at suffering, pain, evil, and depression, that is all God. God is laughter. God is sorrow. God is…you get the picture.

Now, when you speak to your fellow man, recognize that he is, in essence, part of God’s Oneness; so speak respectfully. When you talk to your wife, to your children, to your husband, your mom, your dad, they are also a part of God’s Oneness. The words you’re putting out there are part of God’s Oneness, so don’t borrow part of God’s Oneness to tell a lie or insult someone.  

Now that we know that God is One and that everything is part of His Oneness, what do we do with that Oneness? 

– Ken