Two books had an outsized influence on my desire to make Aliyah and move to Israel ten years ago. The first was the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, which through my daily readings led me to recognize that the number one theme in the Torah was the Land of Israel. The second book was, “Start Up Nation: the Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” which opened my eyes to the mind-boggling success that the Jewish people were achieving now that we were back in our homeland.
I love the synergy between the ancient Biblical prophecies and the modern miracles that are the fulfillment of those promises. I was therefore thrilled to have the opportunity this week to talk with one of Israel’s most successful venture capitalists, Michael Eisenberg, about his new book, “The Tree of Life and Prosperity: 21st Century Business Principles from the Book of Genesis.”
Michael is a proud husband, father of eight children, and studied Torah for many years, before founding his firm Aleph that has invested in some of Israel’s most successful companies including Wix and Lemonade. His books on Torah topics have become very popular in both Hebrew and English, and it was a real treat to discuss the Book of Genesis with him.
In his warm and articulate manner, Michael brought examples from Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham to explain that our modern world needs a reboot. We need to return to our foundational moral principles and to the stories of Genesis to translate these principles into a 21st-century economic system.
In our conversation, I got to ask him about his comparison between the Hebrew prophets and investors. “Naturally, venture capitalists are optimists who believe in technology’s ability to create a better future,” Eisenberg writes in his introduction, “so it is only natural that I connect with the utopian visions of the prophets.”
The book elaborates on this comparison, that both prophets and entrepreneurs are focused on solving our deepest problems and obsessed with creating a better world. “Technological advancement and the implementation of the principled model can initiate an entirely new process. The principles that will be manifested when people choose worthy, benevolent products and services will bring about the realization of all the good prophecies. Of their own will, “nation will not lift up sword against nation” (Isaiah 2:4) not even to wage currency wars, and “the wolf will lie with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6).”
With our increasing concerns about technology’s role in causing harm to society and individuals, Michael Eisenberg offers a refreshing perspective in “The Tree of Life and Prosperity.” This important and insightful book provides the foundations for a new reality whereby Israel’s spiritual and ethical aspiration to promote innovation can lead the Jewish State to truly become a light unto the nations.