Week 4: Netzach - Eternal Ambition
*Even if this week of the omer has passed, you can still learn about and work on this trait. Any time is a good time for spiritual growth.
On the fourth day of Creation, YAHUAH created the sun, the moon, and the stars, and He placed them in the heavens to give light on the earth. Thus, YAHUAH established time as we know it: days, months, seasons, and years.
Ever since this fourth day of Creation, over 5,000 years ago, they have remained in their place. Every morning, the sun rises. Every night, the moon appears, and the stars remain arranged in their heavenly constellations. Day after day. Night after night.
At the same moment that YAHUAH established finite time, He also connected us to the Infinite and the Eternal. The sun, moon, and stars are daily reminders of the Infinite, Unchanging, Eternal One. They are a reminder of eternity.
This is Netzach. Netzach means eternity. It also means ambition, endurance, and victory. Netzach is the fourth attribute we work on during sefirat haomer.
Ambition is “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.” It is the inner drive that YAHUAH gave us to get things done.
Without ambition, mankind would not have survived for over 5,000 years. It causes us to do what's necessary in order for us to survive and thrive. Without it, we would have nothing - no food, no clothes, and no home. We would still be in the stone ages because there would be no progress on any front without ambition.
Ambition is a necessary part of man. It drives us to make plans, follow through with them, and accomplish something meaningful.
Ambition can be negative, however, if it's derived from the wrong source. Is our ambition derived from our physical self and our ego, or is it derived from our soul?
Ambition from our physical self and ego will cause us to strive for things that will benefit our flesh and our sense of pride. The object of our ambition becomes things like money, possessions, success, and status, or we'll find ourselves striving for things that only bring physical pleasure.
If our ambition is derived from our soul, then we'll strive for things that benefit the soul. Netzach is the attribute of the soul that connects us to eternity. It is the soul-power that causes us to strive for things that are eternal.
Everything in this world is finite. Everything has an end and passes away.
We can strive for things that pass away, or we can strive for things that last forever.
The only thing in this world that is eternal is the Torah. When we strive for Torah, then we are striving for something that is eternal.
When we push ourselves to learn YAHUAH’s word, to obey His commandments, to maintain and intensify our prayers, and to develop a closer relationship with Him, then we are building for eternity.
These actions benefit our soul, and our soul is eternal. Therefore, these will be with us not only in this world but also in the world to come.
Our ambition should be focused on things that last forever. Sure, we have to do some things that are earthly and temporal. I mean, we gotta eat, right? So, of course, we do have to put some effort into the things of this world so we can survive.
However, our strongest ambition should always be for things that are eternal. We do what’s necessary in this world, but our strongest internal drive, our focus, and our ultimate goal in life must be for things that are everlasting.
This must be shown through our actions, not just our words. If we have no time to study Torah or to do good deeds, or if we can't keep a commandment because we’re too focused on trying to make money, advance our careers, enhance our social status, or be entertained, then we’re not truly striving for things eternal.
Our actions show that we’re striving for things of this world - things that will pass away. We’re not tapping into the power of netzach.
Netzach gives us set-apart ambition. It causes us to strive for eternity. It drives us to actually do those good deeds we want to do, to study and learn Torah the way deep down we desire to do, and to connect to YAHUAH the way our soul yearns to do.
Netzach is the power to follow through with all the strivings of our soul.
Netzach, therefore, clarifies our true purpose in life so that we don’t get distracted with temporal things that will fade away. Netzach keeps us focused on the main goal - a relationship with YAH - so we spend our time and concentrate our efforts on building for eternity.
Power to Endure
Because netzach is focused on eternity, it gives us the power to endure.
Life isn’t always easy. It’s not supposed to be. Our life is individually tailored so that we each experience precisely what we need to experience in order to become the person YAHUAH created us to be. YAHUAH is Sovereign.
Our purpose in life is to have a relationship with YAHUAH. We go through things that will help us to ultimately achieve that goal. Problems, distresses, trials, and struggles are there to help us draw closer to YAH.
They may help us build our emunah and bitachon (belief and trust), deter us from continuing in the wrong direction, somehow purify us of our past sins, or any one of a number of reasons. Who knows why we go through what we go through?
YAHUAH sees the “bigger picture.” He sees the big picture of our lives and of the whole world. He knows what’s going on, and He’s in control.
When we believe this and trust in Him, we can endure anything. We won’t give up, give in, or get discouraged because we know that there’s a bigger picture here. We may not be able to see it or understand it, but we know and trust that there is one.
YAHUAH is in control of a "bigger picture" that will ultimately play out for our own good.
Therefore, we endure. We persevere. We withstand all hardships that come our way because we know that there’s something bigger and greater happening.
Consider Moshe. Moshe knew YAH’s plan and mission for Yisrael. He knew Yisrael had to receive the Torah and share it with the entire world. Moshe saw the bigger picture, and he was completely dedicated to achieving this goal that would have everlasting effects.
So, no matter what Moshe faced - Pharoah, the army, the Red Sea, hunger, thirst, grumblings, rebellions, war, etc. - he stayed focused and kept going.
Moshe never lost sight of the bigger picture, and therefore, he could endure everything that came against him. He never gave up until his job was done. Yisrael received the Torah and reached the Promised Land. That outcome lasts for eternity.
This is the power of netzach. If we stay connected to the Eternal One and stay focused on eternity, the bigger picture, rather than the here-and-now, then, we can endure.
Even though I may not understand this piece of the puzzle, I know there is a bigger picture that is beautiful. Therefore, I can and I will get through this.
Getting the Win
Netzach also means victory. It means triumph, success, overcoming, and winning.
When we set out with the right goal in mind (set-apart ambition) and we stay focused on that goal no matter what (the power to endure), we will succeed!
Compare the following:
The Tower of Babel: After the great flood, the people of Babel gathered together to build a giant tower that would reach the heavens and bring them fame and notoriety. What happened? Epic fail! YAHUAH stopped them in their tracks. He confused their languages and scattered them throughout the earth. Their project was never completed, a dismal failure.
The Beit HaMikdash: Shelomo set out to build a Dwelling for the Most High Elohim, a Set-Apart Place for the Name of YAHUAH. His father David made all the preparations, and now he carried it out, hiring thousands of workers, partnering with other kingdoms, and overseeing the entire construction. The result: Unmatched success! The Presence of YAHUAH filled the Hekal, and never before or since has there been anything as beautiful and esteemed as the Beit HaMikdash.
What's the difference between the two?
Shelomo sought to build a Dwelling for YAHUAH, the One Who lives eternally. Man, generations, and even civilizations pass away, but YAHUAH remains forever.
The builders of the tower strove for things that will pass away, and it failed. They sought to make a name for themselves, and it failed.
Shelomo and all Yisrael strove for something eternal, and they succeeded. They sought to make a Name for YAHUAH, and they succeeded.
When we strive for Heavenly, eternal things, we will succeed. We will overcome all obstacles, pressures, and trials and be successful in our endeavors. We will win!
Growing in Netzach
Netzach will push us in the right direction, keep us focused on what’s really important, and ultimately bring us success. How do we build up this trait within us?
Be steadfast. Tap into the power of "eternity" by sticking to things. Try a little harder to keep up good habits. Be dependable. Follow through with your promises and commitments. Let others know they can count on you. When a problem or obstacle pops us, keep at it. Don’t give up. Stick to it ‘til you do it.
Hang in there. If you’re experiencing troubles or difficult circumstances, try to see the bigger picture. How would YAH view your situation? What outcome do you think He’s looking for in all this? Are you responding with fear and worry or belief and trust? Put your confidence in Him, and don't give up! There is more to this than what you know. Stay focused.
Clarify your ambition. What are you living for? What are you trying to achieve? Why? Where are your activities and efforts concentrated?
Build for eternity. Build something that lasts. What will you do today that will last for eternity? What goals can you set that will last for eternity? How can you use what YAHUAH has given you (your intellect, talents, skills, abilities, money, resources, etc.) to bring esteem to the Name of YAHUAH? Do it.
Wake up every morning, and think about the things above. Think about what you’re truly striving for and what will last forever. Set your day on giving YAH esteem, and place your full confidence in Him.
Never give up!
#sefirathaomer #netzach #counting the omer