INTRODUCTION: KEEP CLIMBING! NISSAN 5779 – ADAR 5780
Shalom and Welcome to our exciting and challenging new series. It presents an exhortation and encouragement to keep moving forward and growing – to Keep Climbing toward higher spiritual vistas.
A rabbi in the Old City of Jerusalem once claimed, “There are only two kinds of people in the world. Those who are moving forward and those who are not.” To move forward one needs a path, which, by definition, leads you somewhere. On a dynamic spiritual path you know that you are in the right direction and are “moving forward” if you are not the same person you were a year ago. You have grown in awareness; your view has widened andyour understanding of life has deepened.
A real spiritual path is steep; not a holiday stroll. It takes time, and as we climb the spiritual path, also compared to a ladder, we need to ascend one step or rung at a time. We often discern that our values, actions, and priorities need to undergo a radical shift. This can be challenging and even painful. It’s like shedding some aspect of our familiar selves and requires moving beyond our previous comfort zone. The effort to break habitual, ingrained patterns requires hard work and the desire to be different. To shed a familiar pattern in order to grow spiritually is challenging. However, when we accept the challenge, we discover that it also is exhilarating. The higher we climb the more beautiful and breathtaking the views become and the rewards and blessings are abundant!
If you are wanting and intending to purposefully participate in this next Rosh Chodesh cycle I want to stress the importance and value of maintaining a Personal Journal. You need to invest in a special notebook or a binder and pages to insert. This will be your tool for gaining the maximum benefit from the “Keep Climbing” series.
It is the means whereby you do a daily, focussed ‘accounting of the soul’ – called in Hebrew ‘cheshbon nefesh’ – חשבון נפש. There are significant times in the Biblical Calendar when this exercise is emphasized, for example during the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Awe. We know, however, that the way to grow consistently, and to ‘keep climbing’ with joy and strength, is to be aware and to learn from the lessons Avinu, our Father, presents us with every day. The best time to do your journal entry will be during either a morning or evening ‘quiet time.’ Even five or ten minutes will suffice! I will be supplying a weekly selection of thoughts, prayers, questions, etc., to use as an aid and, hopefully, as an inspiration.
The aims of keeping a Personal Journal are:
1. To achieve mental focus and a clarification of our inner, sometimes hidden, thoughts and emotions.
2. To develop awareness of our reactions and instinctive behavior in the many situations that arise during any given day.
3. To take time to consider how we can improve and strengthen each positive character trait.
After a year of this practice we will all be strengthened in our walk and growth, and have a clearer awareness of our calling and service in the extension of God’s Kingdom on earth.
With His help, we then will shine His glory more brightly.
Looking forward to sharing the climb!
For His Names’ sake, in Love,
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are interested in joining us on this adventurous climb please sign up at this Mailchimp link in order to receive the weekly and monthly notes and material. [If link does not open automatically, please copy and paste in your browser.] Many thanks!
The CHARACTER TRAITS we will be exploring during the series are:
1. NISSAN ( 6 April – 5 May ) COURAGE and HUMILITY (TRIBE – Yehudah )
2. IYYAR ( 6 May – 3 June ) PREPARATION and HEALING ( Issachar )
3. SIVAN ( 4 June – 5 July ) PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE ( Zebulun )
4. TAMMUZ ( 4 July – 1 August ) PERCEPTION and FOCUS ( Reuven )
5. AV ( 2 – 31 August ) EQUANIMITY and MODERATION ( Shimon )
6. ELUL ( 1 – 29 September ) REPENTANCE and SILENCE ( Gad )
7. TISHREI ( 30 Sept. – 29 Oct. ) ENTHUSIASM and CONFIDENCE ( Ephraim )
8. CHESHVAN ( 30 Oct. – 28 Nov. ) KINDNESS and ADAPTABILITY ( Menashe )
9. KISLEV ( 29 Nov. – 28 Dec. ) UNITY and SILENCE ( Benjamin )
10. TEVET ( 29 Dec. – 26 Jan. 2020 ) JUDGMENT and CRITICISM ( Dan )
11. SHEVAT ( 27 Jan. – 25 Feb. ) OBEDIENCE and WISDOM ( Asher )
12. ADAR (26 Feb. – 25 March ) GRATITUDE and GIVING ( Naftali )