This week in synagogues all over the world we began the third book in the Bible, called Leviticus. In Hebrew the word is V’yikra., which is translated “and he called.”
Who called? God. He called Moses to let him know what to convey to the priests as they handle the tabernacle upkeep, the sacrifices the people were to bring, and, of course, their clothing and rituals.
I must’ve read this particular section in our Bible at least 20 times. And no surprise, a new concept entered my consciousness. The concept that emerges from the first word: “Called.”
Over the past weekend I officiated a Bar mitzvah in a beautiful outdoor location, under a large tent with 20 participants, overlooking the beautiful Oregon hills. I was thinking constantly about the theme of calling, being called, and a Calling with a capital C. Let me explain.
We all call people and people call us, right? They call to see how we’re doing; they call to ask somethings of us. We call to inquire information about something on which we wish to gain more clarity. That is, what I label, level one of calling. To exchange information and to follow direction.
The second level of calling in Judaism, I believe, is being called. Being called to the Torah is an example. To celebrate becoming an adult Jew in a community, we are being called to the Torah. That is what the Bar Mitzvah boy did this past Saturday. Being called to do something that adds to our holiness, to our uniqueness. This kind of calling helps create a community. In Judaism and elsewhere, when we are being “called,” we know that we belong to a larger group and we are part of a collective mission. Being called to the Torah or being called to be a leader in your organization.
Being called to participate in this level 2 of “calling” we need first to consent. And then we need to view it is a privilege. And, no surprise, with privilege comes responsibility. Responsibility to accomplish the task so we can be “called on” to be part of something greater than ourselves. This level requires us to be counted on, which implies that we have others’ expectations of us, based on our agreement. Have you ever been called up to do something? To belong to a group? To lead? How did it feel? How hard was it to be “called up?” That is what I call the second kind of “calling.”
The third kind of calling is what I refer to as “THE CALLING” in all caps.
This Calling is individualistic and authentic to every human being. My calling is different than your calling. My purpose is different than your purpose. And I believe through the course of living our lives we get the opportunity to reflect, assess and determine our purpose. What is the reason that we were brought into this world?
Most of us live our lives, day-to-day, month-to-month, making ends meet, accomplishing our daily, monthly, and even yearly “to-do lists” and at times even celebrating our accomplishments. How often, however, do we take the opportunity to sit and reflect about our own purpose and life’s meaning?
To tell you the God’s honest truth, I did not do it much in the first 50 years of my life. I worked in Jewish education for 30 years and while I enjoyed it, I felt that what I brought was needed and valued. I did not sit long enough to truly ask myself- “Dorice, where are you going? Where do you want to see yourself 30 years from now? What is the thing that gives you purpose, for what purpose were you born?”
Of course, when I ask myself that, the first answer popping into mind is “my family, my children, my husband.” While it is very much a worthy reason to wake up in the morning, I think this question of life’s purpose is bigger than that. I have friends that “live” for their children. Friends, who when asked, “How are you?” respond with, “My child is well, so I am ok.” I believe life’s purpose, Calling with a capital C, is bigger than that. While it can absolutely be that some of us came into the world to be a parent—and I do think there is not a holier task than that—the question of our purpose is beyond that holy task.
And we arrive to it slowly. Very slowly. While sitting silently. Emptying our minds so new thoughts can come in. Long enough so clutter becomes clarity. There is the story of Elijah following his confrontation with the prophets of Baal as he was seeking God. He ended up encountering God not in the whirlwind or the fire or the earthquake, but in the kol demamah dakah, the still, small voice, literally “the sound of a slender silence.” Sometimes to discover something we have to tune out the “noise” that is around us, the regular activities of life. That still small voice, the sound of true silence, we can hear only if we are listening to it. When our soul (not only our head) is silent, the true awesomeness of God can penetrate and be heard. And then new revelations take place. Is that why the word to speak is Medaber? Both the word to speak l’daber and the word for desert, midbar, share the same root. A desert connotes emptiness. When we empty our minds and stop talking, we can hear.
One of the powerful tools in Positive intelligence is the focus on the here and now, the physicality of our bodies in the moment. Honoring our thoughts but letting them go. No past reflections, no future thoughts. For a few minutes a day, when we focus on our hearing, on our tasting, on our feeling the sensation of our fingers rubbing against one another, we create the emptiness from which wisdom emerges. A place of clarity. Clarity of ideas, of actions, and ultimately clarity of our own purpose on this earth.
If you want to hear and engage more regarding the positive intelligence program and foster clarity and positivity of purpose within you, I invite you to connect via email with me.