Friday, August 6, 2010

Believing in the possible again

(Alternate version: replace "Moses" with your favorite poet or artist or spiritual mentor.)

The empirical fact is that even for the most G-d fearing person living a virtuous and spiritual life does not come easily. Life for most of us consists of a battle between good and evil, spirit and matter, self-indulgence and transcendence – between selfish cravings of material narcissism and commitment to a higher calling, with the former more often than not winning out.

Indeed, modern secular thought sees the human being as an evolved beast, a billion year old bacteria, whose primary drive is survival (“survival of the fittest”). From biology to psychology, from genetics to archeology – from Darwin to Freud – we have been taught that humans are driven by the irrational and emotional primitive “id,” which is all “want, want, want,” self-gratification driven by one rule – the “pleasure principle: “I want it and I want it all now”.

Moses however saw the human being in quite a different light. While its true that every person has a selfish inclination, we also have a Divine side, which is capable of the noblest behavior. Indeed, Torah sees that the deepest part of the human being is the “yid” rather than the “id.” The essence of the soul is like the letter “yud,” a dot, a spark of the Divine.

The easier route may be the narcissistic one. But a person always has the choice to overcome his/her primitive temptations and access the transcendent soul within.

The soul is a rich resource, with layers and layers of potential. And in the soul lies a dimension that is a “spark” of Moses. At this level it is as natural to connect to G-d as it is for a fish to be in water. The challenge is to recognize and draw forth this dimension, which can lay concealed beneath the outer shell of material survival.

It is critical that we believe in ourselves to be able to achieve anything in this world. But we must also know that our psyches are under a constant assault of many forces reminding us time and again about our limitations, feeding our insecurities and fears.

Comes Moses and says no! You have the power to be Divine, and with ease! You only need to believe that it is possible.

In essence, one can say, that this is the ultimate battle in life: How much we believe in ourselves; how much we believe in our possibilities.

When things sometimes seem impossible, think about Moses’ words. Think about the fact that by virtue of the “Moses” within” your soul you are within reach of achieving virtually anything you set your mind to.

So now that we know that the great Moses believes in us, the question we each much ask: Do I believe in myself?

With a leader like Moses the impossible may just be possible.

- Simon Jacobson

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