In the previous 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. And, if I’m created with a nature to receive, and therefore I must receive and I should receive, the way I connect to God with the part of myself that is receiving is by receiving for the purpose of giving.
Now imagine a whole society actually doing this.
Imagine a society of people limiting their receiving to what is necessary, and even when they do receive, it is for the purpose of giving.
This is what the Jewish society was at Mount Sinai. And this is the unity and stature that would be achieved by a society that is living “love your neighbor as yourself” as God truly intended. The intrinsic interconnectedness of such a society would be brought out, and while each individual would have his level of independent work in such a society, all of the individual’s independent work would be for the sake of the whole.
It is as if each individual is a part of a body.
Just as each part has its own unique and individualistic function but serves the purpose of the whole (in addition to itself), so too, each member of the utopian society has his own unique and individualistic function but serves the purpose of the whole (in addition to himself).
Upon achieving this unified society, the classic Jewish outlook on charity in which each individual is to give a minimum of 10% of his earnings (barring certain exceptions) falls away since one’s whole life becomes ongoing acts of charity. There would be no poor people because we would get to the point that there would be no personal possessions, since everyone would only take what they need in order to fuel their life of giving.
Communism versus Utopia
Some readers are probably shocked to be reading this. After all, this sounds a lot like communism. However, there is a fundamental difference between the system we are laying out here and the infamous ideology of the USSR – and that difference is God.
The only way this system of becoming givers by “receiving for the purpose of giving” is going to work is when you have God at the root of it.
If a nation attempts to implement this system without God at its root and without the purpose being to get closer to the Ultimate Giver, no matter how ideological and pure-intentioned this nation may be, it’s not going to work. If there is no God-oriented goal as the basis, purpose, and inner motivation of the individual’s giving, the society is doomed to crumble.
Instead, in order for the society in this system to be successful and flourish, the masses have to believe in and be dedicated to the assumptions upon which the system is based. Only when there is agreement amongst the general Jewish populace to make this move toward “receiving for the purpose of giving” can the nation as a whole take this system of living upon itself in a real way, ultimately resulting in a closer relationship with the Infinite as well as a more refined and better-functioning society.
Without God as the bottom-line reason for getting into and staying within this system of living, the masses are doomed to start taking more than they need while putting in less than what is required. And from there will stem a further breakdown, of people looking over their shoulder at what the other guy is doing, and the whole system will fall apart in disunity and corruption.
It is only when it is a God-inspired system, in which the majority of the people want it in a real way and for the right reasons, that the system will be able to be properly set up, survive, and thrive.
A True Light
Imagine the Jewish people living in this manner.
Now, that would be a light unto the nations!
This is really the ideal and this is really the goal – to set up a society of people who are givers. That means that if, for example, my gift is that I can be a great farmer, I’d go out to work in the fields in order to produce whatever amount of crops I can for the good of the general populace. Then, when my son needs a doctor, I simply take him to the person whose gift it is to be a doctor.
There’s no money.
There is just one big society working together, similar to the manner in which one body works together – each part contributing in accordance with the uniqueness of its own gift, but enlivened by the same source of blood.
And it’s all for the purpose of leaving the “smallness” of being receiving-minded and getting to the “bigness” of being giving-minded, ultimately to achieve becoming more “God-like.” By way of our living as such a refined society, God will become manifest in this world through us, and we will grow in our relationship, association, and oneness with the Infinite.
The Spiritual Start-Up
At this point people tend to ask, “This constant giving sounds exhausting – when can a person just receive already?”
Well, whenever the person starts receiving for receiving’s sake, it’s at that point that the person is disconnecting from the Ultimate Giver. After all, as we’ve mentioned, God is all about giving, and here this human being has just (at least, momentarily) made himself all about receiving. By putting a border on his giving, it’s as if he has stated, “No, I’m not Godlike to that extent.”
Turning oneself into a giver of self is a lifelong effort and pursuit and something we can constantly be growing in. But this is the starting point of spirituality and the path toward spiritual growth. While all of the animal kingdom is focused on “receiving” – fulfilling its inclinations – the human being has the capacity to go beyond that side of himself and “give” of himself by asserting his Free Will to choose something higher.
It is here that spirituality begins.
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 is currently on a North American lecture tour. To book a presentation, seminar, or consultation email firstname.lastname@example.org