Successful Families, Inheritance, and Family Giving with Rabbi Daniel Lapin
What does ancient Jewish wisdom reveal about successful family enterprise and leaving a legacy?
Today, we’re talking with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He is the author of Thou Shalt Prosper—Ten Commandments for Making Money, and Business Secrets from the Bible. In this conversation, we’re digging into ancient Jewish wisdom for successful families, and how to navigate inheritance and family giving.
So if you want to do the most for your kids, get more people to listen, and do the most with your money… tune in now!
Table of contents
Scrolling Through the Scripture
Since we last spoke with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, he’s been further developing his Scrolling Through Scripture program. He designed this program to help people unpack the Hebrew text. The technology allows people with no background in Hebrew to start understanding the scripture, and understand it better.
[4:39] “In reality, it’s rather extraordinary that we live right now, in the very first time of human history where people who see themselves, and are viewed by their contemporaries, as educated and influential and knowledgeable, are completely ignorant about the Bible.”
The Hebrew text reveals answers to questions about the English translations of the Bible and provides necessary context. Because many people seem to have a sort of “amnesia,” as Rabbi Lapin puts it, about the cultural relevance of the Bible.
[9:53] “We’re not necessarily dealing with people who literally have had amnesia, but if you think of people who have come of age in the last 30 years, they’ve got the equivalent of amnesia, in the sense that the cultural bricks that have been put in place to build their personality and their relationships to the world in many ways are distorted and ineffective.”
Life is like a Power Station
In previous discussions with Rabbi Lapin, we’ve talked about several of his books, which share financial wisdom from the Bible. On one hand, we’ve discussed how making money is a natural progression of doing something of value in the world. On the other hand, we’ve also talked about the importance of giving first, before you even make a profit. Today, we want to talk about this more deeply with the Rabbi.
To this, Rabbi Lapin shares a comparison between operating a car versus a nuclear power plant. A car is typically very straightforward to operate. There’s some learning curve, but it’s not overly complex. So, if something goes wrong while you’re driving, like a crash, it’s instantaneous. On the other hand, there are dozens upon dozens of things to know to operate a power plant. And the system is so complex, you may not understand you’ve done something wrong until much later down the road.
[15:39] “Life is like the nuclear power station, not like driving the car. Which is to say, that many of the things you need to know about the safe and proper operation of your life do not show up immediately.”
It may be years before you realize that some of the decisions you’ve made aren’t the right decisions. Sometimes, it takes some time to figure out you’ve done the right thing, too. For example, if you decide to follow the “giving route” and your friend decides to follow the “taking route,” it’s possible that the taking route might seem like the more attractive option at the start.
The Importance of Giving
[18:40] “We are made, we are created, to operate. We are lubricated by being givers, not takers—we are corroded by being takers. It’s like running that engine without an oil change. We thrive by being givers.”
Rabbi Lapin raises an interesting point about the role of children in families. He acknowledges that as infants and toddlers, children can be very demanding. They’re takers. However, being a parent allows you to thrive as a giver because children allow you to be givers. They create a space for you, as a parent, to learn how to give first and give forward, unselfishly.
Giving is not something you do to right a wrong, or absolve yourself of some guilt. Giving is something you are created to do naturally, first, so that you can thrive. And when you are a truly giving person, don’t you feel wealthy? It’s that spirit of limitlessness that helps you grow: like attracts like. Giving shows your confidence that your needs will cared for. The good you have and experience cannot deplete by doing something for another.
Creating a Financially Responsible Family
This topic of giving first, in the context of children, can actually relate to how your raise your kids and the wisdom you impart. Because as an adult, if you’re seeking financial freedom, it stands to reason that this is something you should also want for your children. Yet there’s a challenging mindset that many people must overcome—that if you give money to your children, you’ll spoil them.
This fear that money will corrupt your children, and they won’t use it responsibly, causes many parents to give away their wealth rather than keep it in the family. The problem with this logic is that if you think money is going to corrupt your children, it’s because you didn’t formulate and develop that character.
[23:52] “What does it say about your child-raising, through your lifetime, if you don’t trust your children to handle money? I mean, you obviously feel you’ve handled it okay, but you’ve somehow failed to convey your values to your children.”
How to Have More Control
[32:50] “The things we do have the power to impact and change are our finances and our family, and obviously faith, your health, your friendships.”
The more you can regain control of your life, the happier and freer you can be. When you’re too dependent on outside forces to keep your life going, there can be a major stressor. And in extreme circumstances, you may quickly find yourself without something you took for granted, simply because you had no control.
The way our society is developing, many people depend on others, like the government, Wall Street, or other businesses. So much so that even something like a job loss or a stock market crash can leave people with very limited options. Creating wealth and assets that are independent of these things can be a major boon. Being independent doesn’t guarantee there won’t be hiccups, however, it ensures that you’re not blindsided by outside influences.
To take this kind of control, it’s important not to think just as an individual or a couple, but as a family unit. Because if you’re building a multi-generational wealth strategy, each person in your family has a role to play. So there’s a necessary communication that happens between your family on an individual and team level to be successful.
Infinite banking is a huge piece of this puzzle because it allows you to store cash and capital in a way that the whole family can access to be self-sustainable and also protects the entire unit for generations.
Steering Your Family Unit
Within our discussion, Rabbi Lapi raises an interesting point about raising children. That is, it takes moral courage to declare to your children that you’re steering the ship. You may involve professionals at different times, but as the mother and father of your children, you’re at the helm. It’s your wisdom and your values that you must convey to your children to help them understand their role within the family unit and the wider multi-generational role.
[42:36] “Nobody cares more about your money than you, and nobody cares more about your children than you.”
This is why it makes sense to have hands-on involvement with the big investment that is your children. In the same way, you want to have hands-on involvement with your money and your finances. Incidentally, the multi-generational strategy that you form using the infinite banking concept applies to both your finances, and the wisdom you impart to your children.
Inheritance and Family Giving
Another way to conceptualize this is by thinking of an employer to employee relationship. How would you personally train your employee differently if you knew that one day you were going to pass down your business to them? Then, simply apply this to your family. If you know you’re going to pass down your assets to your children one day, you should have a vested interest in training them to steward it properly. That way, they can be successful, and hopefully mirror the behavior, keeping the money and knowledge in the family for generations.
[50:00] “When your children receive your assets after you pass along to the Lord, it’s not a lottery. They didn’t just win a lottery. They have that because of a lifelong relationship they had with you. People who win lotteries usually do not do well with the money. But people who inherit money properly do just fine with it because they’re part of what built the money in the first place.”
Previous Discussions with Rabbi Lapin
- Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money
- The Holistic You: Integrating Your Family, Finances, Faith, Friendships, and Fitness
- Business Secrets from the Bible
About Rabbi Daniel Lapin
His books include America’s Real War, Business Secrets from the Bible, and Thou Shall Prosper-The Ten Commandments for Making Money. All have been translated into Chinese and Korean.
Rabbi Lapin is a frequent speaker for trade groups, political and civic organizations, financial conferences, and companies around the globe. He regularly appears on radio and television shows. Newsweek magazine included him in its first list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis. His weekly podcast now enjoys over 100,000 downloads, as do his weekly columns.
With his wife Susan, he hosts the daily TCT television show Ancient Jewish Wisdom. An enthusiastic boater who has sailed his family across the Pacific, Rabbi Daniel Lapin lives in Maryland. With him, he has his seven children that he and his wife homeschooled. His website is www.YouNeedaRabbi.com
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