You are here

Rabbi Message: October 23, 2017

Moses and the 70 Elders

The Torah speaks of a group of 70 Elders who were empowered by "the spirit" to share with Moses a portion of his inspiration and his burden. These leaders were able to go higher on the "mountain of God." They were a bridge to mediate between the Most High, His/Her servant Moses and the People.

What a beautiful metaphor for people who are drawn to congregational life as a part of their own spiritual progress. I hope to see, be and co-create such a group of Elders here at TI. How do we become an Elder? How do we know if we are one? A further question is: how do we use the opportunity to help ourselves and others? Every spiritual tradition teaches that you grow by teaching others. The angels on Jacob's ladder went up and down supporting and raising each other. Communities of seekers are like that.

The first step in being one of the 70 Elders is to have a commitment to working on ourselves in service to the community. This is a double commitment to our own development and to service. We start by becoming more aware of our own limitations, gifts and purposes. The goal here is to be see ourselves more clearly, to be transparent with ourselves. At the same time, we become more open to being transparent with others. In this way, we develop humility and truthfulness; love, patience and acceptance for ourselves and others. Don't you want to be part of a community like that?

If we criticize each other and give feedback, however we do that, if the feedback is given with love and humility, it is more likely, more deserving, of being heard. We who are becoming the 70 Elders have an obligation to offer loving truthful feedback to each other. Privately. Skillfully.

As burgeoning Elders, we are also required to do our best to hear feedback and criticism, especially if it is offered in a private, loving and skillful way. But in any event, it is good to consider the source and the content and see what we can learn.

The angels that go up and down on Jacob's ladder, and the Elders who stand higher on the mountain of God, Moses himself - none of these are in competition. All of these are wishing for the development, the furtherment of each other. They are lifted by lifting. This is a truth of the spiritual world. When we transmit, share and teach, we all have more. This is the opposite of competition. The only competition that our tradition condones is the sincere wish to develop ourselves to serve as those role models we see and aspire to.

Sometimes in this blog and over the next years here at TI, I hope to learn and write more about developing our cadre of 70 Elders together. I will share "rules," observations and definitions as they arise. If you are wondering if you are right for the job, inquire within.

Love, Andrea