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THE UTOPIAN SOCIETY

posted by eyaakov

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 rey@lightuntoournation.com

“RECEIVING FOR THE PURPOSE OF GIVING”

posted by eyaakov

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!

 

Resolution #2

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 rey@lightuntoournation.com

THE “NATURES” OF HUMANITY

posted by eyaakov

We have previously described a system in which God “wants” to give of His goodness and, therefore, creates us to be the receivers of that goodness.

So, it seems like we’re done.

God wants to give. Man wants to receive.

God gives. Man receives. Game over.

So, what are we still doing here?

Turns out it’s not that simple.

While man is, in fact, created with this nature to receive, the funny thing is that oftentimes when man does receive something, he is very uneasy about taking it.

But why the inner struggle about taking a gift if it is inherent in our God-given nature to receive?

For example, when invited over to another’s home for dinner, many feel perturbed about showing up with no gift other than their presence, eating the food, and then leaving. So, they resolve to bring something along to add to the meal – wine, flowers, chocolates, cookies, dessert, etc.

Why do they feel the need to bring something? After all, if being a receiver is the essence of what the human being is and how he was created, why all the agitation when receiving?

Humanity’s Duality

Here is the problem: While it is true that, on the one hand, God creates man to receive, on the other hand, man is an “outgrowth” and “expression” of the Infinite. That is, just as the sunray is an “outgrowth” and “expression” of the sun, the soul of the human being is an “outgrowth” and “expression” of God. There is a certain seeming independence that the sunray has from the sun in which the sunray receives its essence and vitality from the sun, yet the sunray shares a certain nature with the sun. And, in the same manner, there is a certain seeming independence that man has from God in which man receives his essence and vitality from God, yet man shares a certain “nature” with God.

(Similarly, the Torah compares the human being to a tree. A tree branches out, and the branches receive their essence and vitality from the tree, yet share a certain nature with the tree. So too, man receives his essence and vitality from God, yet shares a certain “nature” with God.)

This means that while God creates man with the innate nature to receive, man also ends up with another nature – the “nature” of God – which, for our purposes here, is the nature to give.

Thus, man is created in duality – with the natures of both receiving and giving – and this causes conflict within him.

On the one hand, man has a nature to receive because he is created to receive. On the other hand, man has a nature to give because he has a side of him that is Godly, and if there’s one thing we know about God so far, it’s that He is a giver. After all, as we have explained, God creates the world, creates man, and gives man constant opportunities to build a relationship with Him (which is the ultimate) while not taking anything in return. Hence, God is the Ultimate Giver, and the human being, being an “expression” and “outgrowth” of God, has that nature to give as well

This is the reason why we have uneasiness about receiving despite the fact that God created us to be receivers. It is because we have another side to us – an innate Godly side – which yearns to give. And receiving is a blatant denial and squashing of that side.

Two Resolutions

There are two resolutions to this quandary – the first of which doesn’t completely solve the problem, thereby causing us to consider the second. We will deal with the first and its shortcoming here, and we will come onto the second next week.

Resolution #1

Since God created us with the nature to receive, we are clearly supposed to be receiving. Therefore, it seems we are to receive that which is necessary and become a giver for the rest.

And, the truth is that we are much less uneasy about receiving those things that we really need to receive.

As I type this, I am receiving air.

I don’t feel bad about that.

Since air is something I simply cannot do without, I don’t give too much thought about receiving it, and receiving it doesn’t trouble me. Similarly, were a starving castaway to suddenly be found and offered water, bread, and some tuna by a few explorers who happened upon his deserted island, he wouldn’t feel that this is something he ought to not be taking from them since he needs it for his survival.

However, the more the thing I am receiving is something I ought to not need to receive, the more I feel uncomfortable receiving it. For example, in the affluent society in which we are blessed to live, where it is expected that I have a job, make money, and am capable of sustaining myself, I may start feeling uneasy if I show up at my friend’s house and scarf down a meal – even if I’m participating in this meal as an invited guest. Since the fact of the matter is that I can feed myself, I become uneasy about receiving a meal from another.

Identity Fusion

As we explained in previous articles, the more similar the two participants in any relationship are, the greater the relationship is going to be. In the spiritual sense, this principle is endlessly increased.

Let’s try to understand this on a conceptual level.

Imagine Joe is acting cruelly. At that moment, what is Joe’s association with the greater concept of “Nice”?

Nothing.

What would you advise Joe to do if he would like to have an association with Nice?

Of course you would tell Joe to act nice and to be nice.

This is because, to the extent an individual is nice, he embodies, personifies, and shares a certain oneness-of-identity with the greater concept of Nice; and, to the extent an individual is not nice, he and Nice are separate, having nothing to do with each other.

Similarly, if I want to have a close relationship with the Infinite (i.e., the Ultimate Giver), I am going to want to transform myself into as great a giver as I can be.

Here lies the problem.

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 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!

For this, we will come on to another resolution that goes deeper next week. Stay tuned…

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 scheduled to be speaking across North America during the dates  November 5-22. To book a presentation, seminar, or consultation email rey@getyourjewon.com

BECOMING A FAN OF GOD

posted by eyaakov

In the last few posts, we’ve discussed the manner in which the objectively meaningless collection, sports team, and rock concert experience usurps the soul’s thirst for something objectively meaningful, thereby pulling it away from actually attaining its true goal of personal refinement and relationship with God.

In order to rectify this situation, what needs to be done is for us to assert our Free Will and apply the soul’s power toward what it was originally intended. This will lead to success in keeping and strengthening the soul’s connection to the Infinite despite its being placed into a culture that is antithetical to the soul and spiritual matters. And then, we will hopefully come to internalize that when we taste the sweetness of sports or come across commercials emphasizing trivial things, we are getting a dose of Coca-Cola – a cheap artificial excuse for the Real Thing.

If we are real enough to acknowledge the petty nature of most of the things our society attributes meaning and importance to, the next question becomes: So what then is life about? Does the manner in which I spend my time reflect the core beliefs that I subscribe to deep down? Or am I spending most of my time watching someone else pretending to make principled choices on TV and the movies? Am I living life in accordance with the way the higher side of myself knows it should and yearns to live? Or am I squandering my waking hours following the tweets of Hollywood celebs and clicking my life away on YouTube?

All these questions boil down to: Am I aligning myself with reality, or am I wasting myself on that which is objectively extraneous?

If we can gain clarity on this issue, all things pulling us in other directions fall away as we become one with our purpose and embody our principles, our goals, and ultimately embrace our essence.

May we be blessed to open up to and connect with the things in life that are worth cheering for and getting passionate about – and may we be granted the strength to follow up on such ideals and enthusiasm with practical actions.

 

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 scheduled to be speaking across North America during the dates  November 5-22. To book a presentation, seminar, or consultation email rey@getyourjewon.com

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