Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Yaakov, BTL, MBA


From Where Jewish Life Thrives in America by Noah Feldman:  
"Only 5 percent of BMG alumni become congregational rabbis. And 25 percent become educators. The rest are engaged in study for its own sake. They will enter the workforce when they are done; armed with skills of logic, formal reasoning and a type of critical thinking, they largely succeed after training in a professional field or going directly into business."
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him........Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife ...... the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.

Rashi on this last verse explains that Yaakov slept there, but the text implies exclusion from the past 14 years when Yaakov did not sleep (so to speak) while in the Yeshiva of Shem V'Ever. 

(היה יעקב בבית עבר מוטמן ארבע עשרה שנה  (מסכת מגילה דף יז,א

Following his Yeshiva studies, Yaakov continues onto his family land and eventually asked Lavan for his daughters hand in marriage: 

And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him,........Now Laban had two daughters........And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.'

Yaakov, the first yeshiva boy in history failed miserably at his first post yeshiva business deal. The first rule of negotiations is to never negotiate with yourself. He should have told Lavan "you tell me what you want in exchange for Rachel". Lavan could have said a goat, a sheep, one month of service, etc... but Yaakov offered more than Lavan could have ever asked for. 

If only Yaakov would have gone to get an MBA post yeshiva he might have "succeeded" in this deal. Being armed with the skills of logic, formal reasoning and critical thinking apparently didn't help much. 

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