Use Leverage for Spiritual Growth – Do a lot with a little

posted in: BasicPhilosophy | 0

The zodiac symbol for the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar [1] is an archer, what Western astrology calls Sagittarius. An archer uses a bow, a simple tool that lets the archer send an arrow farther and faster than he could with his bare hands. He uses “leverage”, like the power inherent in the month. Pulling the string puts tension in the wood, when released moves to the string which sends the arrow flying. It does not take much strength to use a bow and arrow.

We are presently in the month of Kislev which includes the holiday of Chanukah towards the end.[2] As a reminder, the Jewish/Kabbalah calendar follows the lunar cycle to define the start and finish of each of the twelve months. The full moon is the exact middle of each month, the time when the Biblical holidays tend to fall out. Chanukah falls towards the end of the lunar cycle when the moon is on its way out, so to speak.

Why is Chanukah different? Because Chanukah is the symbol of the Jewish people living in exile. It was instituted by the sages and kept the hearts and minds of the Israelites focused on Divine assistance for centuries when the nation lacked the resources of a righteous king, sages and prophets to guide the people, etc. As the story goes, after pushing back the Greek army, a small amount of oil was found to light the holy menorah in the temple. This oil, enough for only one day, miraculously lasted for eight days, long enough for the priests to make more holy oil. The Almighty allowed them to do a lot with a little, similar to the action of a bow and arrow.

Look for leverage

 Therefore, implanted in this month is a spiritual force that can and will do the same for us, allow us to do a lot with a little. When Inbev bought Anheuser-Busch, that was taking a lot and doing business, however, when Colonel Sanders took a chicken recipe and built it into a fast food empire called KFC, that was doing a lot with a little. Many people are able to accomplish great things with limited resources.

Most of us feel that there’s little we can do about child labor in third world countries. And if we were 12 years old we’d feel even less resourceful. But Canadian Craig Kielburger at the age of 12 was shaking up corporations and politicians with his social activism. Armed with not much more than the will to do, some pluck, and a well placed press conference, he spun his efforts into a massive campaign called Free the Children. Now 22, Craig continues in a role as public speaker and activist. But when he began, it was his desire, not his resources that allowed him to accomplish so much.

If you are looking for a sign or something to ignite your passion there is no lack of problems in the world to tackle and make planet earth a better place. There is no lack of charities to donate your time and energy to. In order to make a big impact, or attain a higher level of spiritual growth, look for leverage.

Common levers

 There are many types of levers you can use to propel you farther or faster towards a spiritual goal. You can look for them to be at your feet in front of your doorstep on a daily basis. The Almighty will put them there. If you don’t merit that, for whatever reason, you will have to go farther to search for them. And if you really value them, you will. They are priceless. Our Torah has already indicated many levers that we can access if we so choose.

Here are four common levers that you can use for spirituality:

  • a friend who shares your spiritual goals that you can dialog with and bounce things off

  • a mentor or guide who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish

  • a piece of wisdom that motivates you that you can repeat daily

  • meditation/prayer on the goal you’re focused on

The big leverage

 God is big, huge….infinite in fact. You don’t get bigger than that. And the Almighty is there for us. He loves us. He wants us to succeed. If you want to accomplish anything of importance in this world, He’s right there by your side. The only catch is you have to continually remind yourself that He’s there and He loves you and He’s helping you.

It’s these three thoughts that have allowed my teacher Rabbi Noah Weinberg, may he live and be well, to accomplish so much. He has started several institutions for leadership development on spiritual issues, and fostered adult spiritual education on an international level with hundreds of thousands of students who have benefited. And continues to open up new avenues of education.

Do you want happiness? Do you think if the Almighty helped you, you could raise your level of happiness? Of course. All you have to do is keep these three things in mind. He’s there. He loves you. And He’s helping you.

“Implanted in this month is a spiritual force to help us do a lot with a little.[1]”

[1]This year, 2008 (Hebrew year 5769), Kislev is from November 28th to December 27th.

[2] Chanukah, which always starts on the 25th day of Kislev, this year is from Dec. 21st until the 29th.