Why read the Bible in Hebrew? And how reading the Bible can help you think about opportunities in this slowing economy and down market!
Forefather Isaac the entrepreneur and the Hebrew word: "La'suach" - לָשׂוּחַ
What I want to focus on is how Isaac the forefather became wealthy and how a different understanding of a Hebrew word will yield different causes for Isaac's wealth. But before getting to the English translation, we first need to understand stock markets and the real economy./2
Stock market movements often precede changes in the real economy. For instance, the stock market began declining when the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates about a year ago. /3
However the impact of the interest rate hike was not felt substantially in the real economy until the last quarter. With higher interest rates, many investors expected money to leave the market given the more expensive rates of borrowing and more compelling nature of>>> /4
interest-bearing assets outside the stock market. Market participants also expected that demand in the real economy would decrease as the “wealth effect” moderated due to increasing interest rates reducing the values of stock portfolios and homes. Concurrently, >>> /5
companies would have more trouble raising debt given its higher cost, which would harm their ability to invest in development & growth, which often results in layoffs.
On the other hand, if the market understands that a given interest rate hike is the final one>>> /6
the market will likely rise due to an expected exit from the crisis and an increase in companies’ future earnings. History has shown that the market often rises for a few quarters before the real economy begins to bounce back.>>>/7
The market is often a leading indicator for the real economy.
Like the real economy, the general public also takes time to adapt to changes. This delay creates an asymmetric opportunity for people who spot trends early and are willing to take entrepreneurial and...>>> /8
investment risks despite or due to the uncertainty. By investing before seeing a turnaround, you have an opportunity for enormous profit. Precisely when the economic outlook looks sour, market prices are down and the future is uncertain, is the best time to invest...>>>/9
Actually, "Buy low and sell high" or "Buy real estate when there is blood in the streets" is easy to say but hard to do.
Isaac can be an inspiration as he entrepreneurially “invests” during an economic downturn, a time of famine as the verse states: >>>/10
“Isaac sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same year. God blessed him, and the man grew richer and richer until he was very wealthy: he acquired flocks and herds, and a large household, so that the Philistines envied him” (Genesis 12-14). VC returns! 100X!>>> /11
But how did Isaac manage to act in advance of changes in the real economy?
Perhaps the explanation is that all of Isaac’s bounty was simply God's blessing. Due to the famine, Isaac was hungry and wanted to go down to Egypt. But, God told him to stay ...>>>/12
in the Land despite the dire economic situation.
Thus we might understand that, in return, God “needed” to take care of him: “Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you.” Isaac was simply blessed. Or maybe the story is more interesting than that.>>> /12
I believe that these verses need to be read differently, based on half of a verse we read in last week’s Torah portion. The Torah tells us: "And Isaac went out to 'la’suach' in the field" right before he met his wife-to-be Rebecca. (Genesis 24:63-64) >>>/13
The Hebrew word"'la’suach" is difficult to interpret. Following the words of the Talmud (Bavli Brachot 26b and Yerushalmi Brachot 4a), the accepted interpretation of la’suach is that Isaac prayed in the field. This talmudic approach understands the root Si-A-CH as speech. >>>/14
In fact, JPS translation of la’suach is “meditated”.
"And Isaac went out to MEDITATE in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel. /15
In contrast, Rashbam interpreted Isaac’s action in the field as follows: "Isaac went to walk in the field, according to the dictum, that is, to plant trees and see the affairs of his laborers." /16
This interpretation of Rashbam understands the root Si-A-CH as the verb form of the noun siach, a tree or shrub. Isaac planted. He honed his agricultural skiss.
The differences between the interpretations could not be more profound.
Based on Rashbam’s interpretation, we can explain Isaac’s agricultural success. Isaac did not continue in the family business of gold and silver. Breaking tradition, Isaac developed his skills in the completely different field of agriculture, planting trees and...>>>/18
checking on his field workers.
Then, when the famine came, he was suddenly provided with an opportunity. God encouraged Isaac, and told him that he could stay in the Land, since it was precisely the time to realize the agricultural skills advantage he had built for himself. /19
Developing skills in advance, in anticipation of changes in the market, is key to getting ahead. Sometimes, this strategy can enable even bigger opportunities, and sometimes a daring entrepreneur can even create a brand new market while others are paralyzed. /20
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Thanks to @Ari Lamm
for inspiration on "Why read the Bible in Hebrew" threads!
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving/end