Rosh Hashona: The Journey of the Spiritual Searcher
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov helps prepare you for the Jewish new year!
Getting a Foot Out the Door
How do we get there? How can we succeed in actualizing the potential that is hidden within us? God’s message to Abraham is that the prerequisite to getting to one’s inner potential and purpose is to first leave “from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house.” The meaning of this, teach the Kabbalists, goes much deeper than the physical land, birthplace, and house we grew up in. It means that in order to get started on our true spiritual path, we must first gain a sense of clarity and objectivity. The only way to do that is to do whatever is necessary to uproot from within ourselves any form of subjectivity and false beliefs about the world and ourselves we may have acquired up until now.
Nature versus Nurture
While modern psychology speaks of “Nature versus Nurture”, it turns out that the Torah talked about it long before the phrase was coined in the twentieth century. The Kabbalists understand the leaving “from your land” to be a leaving of one’s culture, and the leaving “from your father’s house” to be a departure from the modes of behavior that have been taught to you there. These, of course, constitute an overall distancing from one’s “Nurture.” This is especially relevant today due to the high level of social conditioning prevalent in the world’s societies. Advertisers are paid to know how to manipulate us into buying their product. The media, movies, and TV have more to do with forming our opinions than anything else. It is obvious, then, that if it is clarity and spirituality that we seek, we must first leave the illusions, conditionings, and falsehoods of the world in which we live.
The Kabbalists further explain that leaving “from your birthplace” refers to rising above one’s genetic predisposition, one’s “Nature.” Each one of us has been born with certain character traits and desires that are ingrained in our minds, bodies, and genetics. If one wants the path of the spiritual journey, one must first take control of his Nature, and not the other way around. We must break out of these limitations and boundaries that we have been born with.
The Head of the Year
When Abraham left these three forms of confinement to journey towards spiritual truth, he led the way for each Jew of all time to break out of the constraints of his or her conditioning and live out the reality of his or her soul to the greatest extent possible.This is what Rosh Hashona – literally meaning the head of the year – is all about. As we transition into the new year we can continue living in the matrix of the reactive autopilot in which most of us find ourselves, or we can opt out by freeing ourselves from ourselves to live a conscious life of real choice and empowerment. It all begins in the head. – and it all begins at the head of the year.