Nalini Joseph: Embodying the seven spirits on child’s path to greatness
By Nalini Jospeh
The Jewish year has many seasons, and right now we are in the month of Kislev.
The festival of Hannukah begins in Kislev, which is known as the month of Benjamin and is a Hebraic season that spans parts of two months (November and December), lasting twenty-nine or thirty days. The Hebraic calendar marks Kislev as a time for preparing for war, although the warfare strategy that is executed in Kislev is done so in a peaceful and tranquil fashion.
Benjamin, who formed the tribe of Benjamin, was gifted with the art of the bow. The zodiac sign associated with Kislev is Sagittarius. Picture the archer with his bow, poised and ready to strike.
During this time, we are encouraged to cut our losses and move on quickly. Relative to a “peaceful war,” the other elements attributed to Kislev include security, trust and coming full circle. At the end of our calendar year and at the beginning of advent, we think about coming full circle; we celebrate endings and new beginnings. This is a time to reflect on our accomplishments, our losses and, most importantly, on our spiritual selves. It is a time to introspect and break free of habits and patterns that have taken us away from our higher selves. Take time with your children this season to contemplate and meditate on the seven spirits of God which all have a place on the menorah, the candelabrum that is used in Jewish worship, especially during Hannukah.
The seven spirts of God are: the Spirit of Knowledge, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Strength, the Spirit of Fear of Yahweh and, finally, the Spirit of Yahweh or God. How well have we taught our children about these seven spirits? Have we made it a point to practice and encourage the pursuit of knowledge in our home? Have we counseled and advised our children well? Have we used wisdom when communicating and disciplining our children? Have we shown understanding and have we demonstrated strength through adversity? Have we taught our children to respect their teachers, their parents, their elders, thereby teaching a fear of God? What grade do we assign to ourselves as parents in our love, respect and deference to God?
Even if we begin the process of installing these seven spirits in our children, we are further along than most.
Greatness begins with an embodying of these seven spirits, as described in the Jewish and Christian holy books. In studying a document on the seven spirits of God, I noted that a person must seek, pursue and realize these spirits for him or herself in order to activate these seven spirits. I extend this invitation to all parents who are actively seeking to set their child on a path towards greatness.
One way to pursue these spirits that will nudge you and your child along your path is to practice one spirit each week. I, myself, am going to mark each week on my calendar on my fridge with one spirit for each week for the next seven weeks. I will begin with the spirit of counsel beginning on Sunday. Each day, I will spend just a few minutes talking with my son about the significance of the spirit of counsel. How should he access wise and solid counsel when he needs it? How should he advise others who are in need of support or advice? What does it mean to be a good counselor? We can find all kinds of ways of incorporating these godly spirits into our lives — through conversation and through daily prayer or reflection.
Chuck Pierce writes about the Hebraic seasons in his book called “A Time to Advance.” In the chapter on Kislev, he writes: “The message of Hannukah is that in the midst of destruction there is mercy. The issue with Hannukah was that the light will not go out. In the midst of destruction, God will find a way to impart mercy to you. No matter what aspect of destruction you are dealing with – external, internal, physical or spiritual – God has a way to impart mercy to build the future.”
Nalini Joseph is a resident of Salisbury. She is the proud mother of 10-year honor-roll student, Rohan Joseph, who serves his community as president of COVID Busters. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.