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The beginning of the month, Rosh Chodesh, or the New Moon, is a very important time, because whatever consciousness we have in those first 24 hours is what we can manifest throughout the month. Therefore, it is important as we enter each new month to understand what is available to us so that we can awaken that consciousness. And so, as we enter into the month of Cancer, or Tammuz, we want to know what gifts are available to us, so that we know where to put our focus.
"Why am I here?”
In The Book of Formation, one of the most ancient kabbalistic works, written by Abraham the Patriarch, it speaks about the different energies of each of the twelve months, explaining that what is unique about the month of Cancer is that the eyes, the ability for vision, were created during it. Obviously, when it is talking about vision, it is not simply referring to the physical ability to see; there is something deeper and more important behind that understanding. As such, I would like to share one idea about spiritual vision, and how we can look at our lives differently than we currently are.
The idea relates to the story in the Torah portion Shlach Lecha of the 12 spies. When the Israelites left Egypt, they came to the border of what was called the land of Israel, and they sent twelve spies in so that they could come back to report about the land. Ten out of the twelve spies came back after forty days, and had terrible things to say: the people living there were giants, much stronger than the Israelites, and they would never let the Israelites live there in peace. It was, therefore, they said, definitely not a good idea for them to try to enter into the land. And as many of us know, most of the Israelites believed the ten spies who had bad things to say, and decided not to enter. None of that generation ever actually stepped foot into the land of Israel.
So, I want to focus on a question that the kabbalists ask. The spies were sent by Moses to come back with a report, and what they came back and said was absolutely the truth; these people were giants, and impossible to defeat. The people who were living in the land were not going to allow this large group of people to come in and live in peace. What, then, was the purpose of sending the spies if Moses knew that their only truthful report could be that it was an impossible task?
"What, then, was the purpose of sending the spies?"
The answer the kabbalists give is not just about that story, but more importantly, about our lives. Every single one of us comes into this world to accomplish certain things, and to influence a certain number of people. Maybe it is just our family, maybe it is our group of friends, or maybe it is even more expanded than that, but each one of us has a job in this world specifically for which our soul came, a task that cannot be accomplished by any other person. How do we come to see the vision of what that task, the purpose of our soul, is? How do we know if we are going in the right direction?
Kabbalists tell us that if what we understand our soul's purpose in this world to be seems possible to us, that we believe we have the wisdom, means, and ability to achieve it, then it is not our purpose. Because the purpose for which we came into this world, if we view it from where we are right now, should seem almost impossible for us to accomplish. If we think we understand why we are here, and think we can see how to do it, we are wrong. Having a true vision of our purpose will mean that we ask, “How can I possibly accomplish that? Although I feel it is my purpose, I do not see how I have the ability to do it.” If we ask those questions, then we are on the right path, because what we need in order to achieve the purpose for which we came into this world is much greater than our current abilities.
To go back to the story of the spies, we asked the question, why would Moses send the spies to come back with a report that he knew would be overwhelming? Because he wanted to tell the Israelites, and us, “Look at your life, look at your purpose, and ask yourself all the time, ‘Why am I here?’” And if we have a vision for that, and think it is doable, and it is not overwhelming, then we are not going in the right direction; whatever our purpose is, it is going to be innately overwhelming, and that is why the spies needed to come back to the Israelites and say, “This is a wonderful idea. This might even be why we are in this world, but we cannot possibly accomplish it.” Because if they did, then they would have dug deeper into themselves and into their connection with the Light of the Creator, and would have been able to discover new forces, abilities, and wisdom. However, they said it was overwhelming, and therefore, gave up. That was the mistake; their next thought should have been about why they were in this world, and then, find the strength, connection, and wisdom to do it.
One of the ways to really know if something is our purpose is to think about whatever we feel it is, and ask ourselves if it is overwhelming. If it seems like something we do not have all the abilities to do, then we are probably right that it is our purpose. But if we look at it and say, “This is why I am here. Sure, it will take me some time, but I will do it,” then we are not seeing the total vision of the purpose of our soul. It is a vision we truly want to have, and one that we can draw in during this month of Cancer. We want to be able to live every single day of our lives with the knowledge, at least, that we are going in the direction of fulfilling our soul’s purpose in this world, a purpose that is unique only to ourselves. And having a vision of that purpose, if we ask for it, is a gift we can receive in the month of Cancer.