Friday, July 6, 2012

A Talking Donkey is Smarter

A talking donkey? What is this Shrek? How did this get here? What can a talking donkey tell us about business?

If you don't know the story, Balak and the Moabites decided they needed to thwart Israel's attempt of conquering the land by hiring a priest that performed curses. now this priest, Balaam, was a true man of God. In fact he says to Balak's army that was sent to bring him to wait a night and see what God would tell him. God of course says do not do this. yet again Balak sends emissaries and this time knowing they would not take no for an answer, God sends Balaam with them. It is then, at 22:22-35 the episode takes place:
28. The Lord opened the mouth of the she-donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?" 

30. The she-donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your she-donkey on which you have ridden since you first started until now? Have I been accustomed to do this to you?" He said, "No."
So this donkey is minding her own business when an angel, a Malach, not a Seraph, was blocking their way. The donkey tried three timers to avert the angel, but no luck as God was trying to let Balaam know he had done something wrong.

Three times, not once or twice but three times. And yet the wise priest, and owner, ignored the warning signs even though he had known this donkey for quite some time if you want to read it as though this was his donkey from his early days of riding.

How many times have we seen executives make decisions only to be warned by their underlings or lawyers or PR people not to do something. Probably they get warned more than three times but suffice it to say, three strikes and you are out.

The moral of the story, be the donkey and watch out for the realities around you that you can see and those you can not see and not be oblivious as Balaam about what is in front of you.

34. Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, "I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing on the road before me. Now, if it displeases you, I will return."
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Parsha Balak in the book of Bamidbar, Numbers 22:2-25:9
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom