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The word “spirituality” has many different interpretations and connotations in today’s world.
So what does it really mean?
"...We may think it has to do with reading books, practicing Yoga, meditating, or learning about Astrology. But Kabbalah explains to us that spirituality is about accepting that our whole reason for being is to share. It awakens us to an understanding that we need to improve ourselves. Spirituality is about being able to see what’s wrong with ourselves, accepting the idea that we can change, and then showing a willingness to actually transform ourselves...” – Karen Berg, Gods Wears Lipstick
In this week’s portion, Yitro, the story begins with the words, “And Jethro heard…” Jethro (also known as Yitro) was the father-in-law of Moses, and was also Pharaoh’s high priest. Yitro was a master of the occult and black magic; basically, he was completely connected to negative energies and considered to be negative himself, as he came from a negative family and grew up in a negative environment. As he grew closer to Moses, he changed his life and became righteous.
It’s not a coincidence that the name of the entire portion is named after Yitro. There are many righteous and elevated leaders in the Torah that had amazing attributes and leadership qualities – but also never had the merit to have a portion named after them. Not even Moses himself.
We know that every word, any space, any vowel, any name of the Torah has a deeper meaning and lesson in it for our life today. And in the fact that the entire portion is named after such a negative man (who eventually changed his ways) there is a huge lesson and a big secret about what Being Spiritual really means.
When Yitro was a priest of Midian, he was never complacent, never satisfied. He continuously looked for a higher truth. Yitro was open to hearing and listening. “And Jethro heard…”
Being spiritual starts with first being open and listening, and then transforming ourselves.
“Open for me an opening the size of the eye of a needle and I will open for you the eternal gates.” - Song of Songs 5:2
All it takes is for us to wake up every morning and ask the Light, “Give me the ability to be open today. Open my heart and soul to any message. Help me open my ears and not just hear but also listen, so I can be guided and see what I need to change, and transform.”
Being open to the Creator means to be open to other people. We don't have to constantly defend ourselves and we don't need to argue every point. We don't have to fight every battle just to prove that we are right.
“Most of us hear, but we don’t listen. We argue, we defend, but we don’t listen. Listening means waiting that extra moment and recognizing that another person may have their own way of doing things, and that if we were that person and came from where they came and with the same circumstances, we would probably think just as they do. Understanding this is the true nature of listening. Our job is to not judge another’s actions; our job is to listen beyond the words.” – Karen Berg, Simple Light
As Rav Berg once said, “The whole purpose of life is to be born one person, and to end up a totally different person.”
It doesn’t matter what our background is, or how much negativity we might have accumulated in life. Remember, it’s all about transformation. As long as we are open to hearing and seeing what we need to change and transform, as long as we are willing to walk the path of transformation, we are taking a huge step towards what spirituality really means – and growing in every aspect of our lives.
This week, because of who Yitro was and his own transformation, we gain the power and ability to be spiritual. Be open, listen and focus on your own transformation as a jumping board to our next level in life, becoming the greater version of ourselves.