In last week’s article, we outlined that if we want to have a close relationship with the Infinite, we are going to want to transform ourselves into givers in order to align ourselves with the Ultimate Giver, God.
However, we left off with a question:
If I’m created with a nature to receive, and therefore I must receive and I should receive, how can I still be connected to God with the part of myself that is receiving? And don’t tell me to receive what I need and become a giver for the rest. I don’t want to be half-connected to God and half-disconnected from God. I don’t want to be connected to God with only 50% of myself. I want to be 100% connected to God!
If the host loves having guests, and really wants you to be one of them, and you show up (even without the bottle of wine) with the intent to make this host happy and prideful that he is having you there enjoying his food, you turn your receiving of this meal into an act of giving to the host.
That is, a person can actually be doing a giving act by way of receiving. And, a person can actually be doing a receiving act by way giving.
An example of a giving act by way of receiving happened to me a few weeks ago. A friend of mine who had just made a killing in the stock market was in town and told me that he wanted to take me out for dinner. He takes me out to this amazing five-course meal – salmon, steak, lamb, wine, chocolate mousse, etc. After the meal is over, I roll all the way back home. I’m stuffed, I’m tired, and I’m ready to collapse into bed. But, as I walk in the door I am greeted by my wife who says with an excited smile on her face, “I’m so glad you’re home! I’ve been slaving over the stove all day to make us this wonderful dinner” as she shows me four courses she’s expecting me to be thrilled to sit down to.
At that moment, I reach deep down inside myself, smile, and say, “Wow, honey, that’s great! Thank you so much! That’s so nice of you! Come, let’s sit down and eat.” And I proceed to dine with my wife and her four courses, and even make meaningful conversation along the way.
Now, when I am receiving this dinner my wife prepared for us, is that a receiving act or is that a giving act? Of course it’s a giving act. While the action from the outside looks like receiving, the sum total of that act is giving.
On the flip side, an example of a giving act by way of receiving happened to a different friend of mine.
For many years this friend wanted to be a plumber – a job that a person can make a decent living doing. But this guy had what some people might call a “Jewish mother.”
“What do you mean you’re going to be a plumber?” she asked in horror. “My boy is going to be a doctor!”
When this mother pushes her son to be a doctor, she views herself as doing a giving act, since she has convinced herself that she is doing what’s best for her son. But I think we all know who she is really doing this for – either she wants him to be a doctor so she can mention “my son, the doctor” in passing to her friends, or she is assessing her own value through the status associated with her son’s occupation.
While this action from the outside might look like giving, the sum total of this act is receiving.
We can see that the external appearances of an action might not properly reflect the internal essence and sum total of that act.
Receiving for the Purpose of Giving
If we think about it, this resolves our dilemma of how to live out both of our seemingly contradictory natures: If a person does a receiving action, but for the purpose of giving, he completes both his nature to receive as well as his nature to give.
Western society’s slogan claiming that “everybody’s workin’ for the weekend,” as well as their vision of a paradise in which a young lady feeds you grapes as you sip a cocktail on a white sandy beach, radiates “receiving for the purpose of receiving” at its purest (unless the young lady really wants to feed you those grapes and you have the intent to take the grapes to make her happy, but I think it’s fair to say that is not what Western society has in mind). That means that God is not going to “shine” through you because, after all, you are not being similar to and aligning yourself with the Infinite Giver. Therefore, the goal becomes to take the nature to receive and turn even that into giving by “receiving for the purpose of giving.”
And so it goes for everything in life.
Every downtime is an opportunity for an uptime. For example, sleep is a form of receiving. That is, I am receiving rest when I sleep. Therefore, Resolution #1 would dictate that I give of myself by limiting my sleep as much as I healthily can in order to be awake doing positive things. And Resolution #2 would add that even the sleep I do receive ought to be with the intent and for the purpose of giving by using it to recharge and gain strength in order to be a giver the next day.
If I have this focus in a real way, all the “receiving” I do when I am sleeping is turned around to be a “giving” act. Instead of the receiving act being an end unto itself, it is elevated into a means toward a higher end.
Think about it.
How transformed would you be if you were always in a state of giving to the point that there was no concept of receiving by you, and you only took in what was necessary for the purpose of a giving act?
You would be truly actualizing your potential. Not just talking about it.
You would feel invigorated.
You would be and feel ALIVE!
You would experience the elevation of yourself from your “lower” nature of being a receiver to your “higher” nature of being a giver.
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a cutting edge international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life, and the author of the #1 Amazon’s Best Seller, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism.
Rabbi Eliyahu’s upcoming North American lecture tour is scheduled for November 5-22. To book a presentation, seminar, or consultation email firstname.lastname@example.org