Posted on Sep 16, 2018 | 0 comments

It is now Day 8 of the Days of Great Awe. This is the appointed time for our Awestruck Hearts to reconnect with the 8th of our Creator’s Prophetic Empowerments from Sinai. This one simply reads:

לֹא תִּגְנֹֽב
Transliteration: lo tignov
rough translation: you will not take for your own use and enjoyment any tangible or intangible thing not meant for or which has not been entrusted to you

The Hebrew phrase ‘Lo Tignov’ is traditionally translated into English James as ‘Thou shalt not steal’. English translations of the Bible limit the application and meaning of this empowerment to a prohibition of the crime of theft of property by appropriation. The Western mindset immediately thinks of this as applying only to persons caught purse-snatching, pick-pocketing, shoplifting, burgling, robbing, cattle-rustling, embezzling, or cyber-sleuthing. That kind of interpretation restricts the application of lo tignov to the taking of ‘stuff’.

But lo tignov is a Hebrew phrase, and cannot be limited like that just because the Western Mindset is all about ‘stuff’. Lo tignov not just about the unlawful taking of someone else’s personal property. It covers every appropriation of anything – tangible or intangible – that the Holy One has assigned to anyone else.

We are to be content with what we have – physically, emotionally, relationally, and socially. And we are to be content to let other people continue to enjoy without our interference or our judgment everything they have – physically, emotionally, relationally, and socially.

We are not to want or be jealous of what they have; nor are we to try to make them want or be jealous of what we or any other person has.

We are not to speak or act in a way that takes away any other human being’s dignity.

Unless invited, we are not to think, speak or act in a way that invades any person’s privacy or personal space. And even when we get an invitation, we are not to expand our invasion beyond the scope of the invitation we have received.

People are not here for us to use or manipulate. Without permission in advance:

– We are not to infringe upon any person’s liberty;

– We are not to impose on any persons’ time;

– We are not to push the limits of anybody’s generosity;

– We are not to test any person’s patience;

– We are not to demand any person’s attention or affection;

– We are not to try to manipulate any person’s affections;

– We are not to control any person’s life;

– We are not to exhaust any person’s energy.

At all times we are to take care not to appropriate, copy, or make fun of any other human being’s characteristics, mannerisms or identity.

We are not to speak or behave in a way that effectively takes from any person either the love, the respect, or the company of their spouse or betrothed, or their child, or their parent, or their friend.

And perhaps most importantly, we are not to speak or behave in a way that takes away, disrupts, or disturbs the peace of any person, any home, or any community. We are not to be agitators. We are not to be fear-mongers or hate-mongers. We are not to be slanderers. We are not to be discontent-spreaders.

The net of it all is this: We are not put on earth and given the breath of life at such a time as this to be TAKERS. We are put on earth and given the breath of life at such a time as this to be GIVERS. We are not here to be MANIPULATORS and USERS; we are here to be INSPIRERS and ENCOURAGERS.

So, on this 8th Day of Awe, as Yom Kippur draws very, very near, the question for the day is this: In the eyes of the Holy One, have you functioned primarily a TAKER, MANIPULATOR, and USER in life thus far? or have you functioned primarily as a GIVER, INSPIRER, and ENCOURAGER?

And in what areas would the Holy One want to reconnect you to the lo tignov empowerment in the coming year?


by Bill Bullock of Rabbi’s Son

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