By Rabbi Yoel Glick | ©

What is the Law of Spiritual Reciprocity? We receive in order to give and give in order to receive; this is the cosmic Law of Spiritual Reciprocity.

How Does Spiritual Reciprocity Work?

If you have received, then God will put you into a position where you must give to others. And if you give, then God will make sure that you receive, even against all odds and without any effort on your part.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that you must give to others if you want to receive, because this builds a pathway along which the divine emanation may flow. In fact, if one receives divine blessing (shefa) but does not pass this abundance on to others, the divine blessing will stop coming, since there will no longer be a pathway for it to follow.

We can understand this teaching from a different perspective as well. If we have a job to do in the world, then God will give us the necessary means to fulfill it. This can be a question of monetary funds, learned skills, spiritual attributes or people to help us, whatever specific elements our work requires. However, these gifts are not unconditional or irrevocable. If we turn away from the task that God has given to us and use His gifts for our own selfish purposes, then God will take His gifts away and give them to someone else who is willing to do the work. God’s work will be accomplished; the only question is who will be His instrument.

There are many different ways that we can give to others. Some individuals follow the overt path of public roles like teachers, counselors, medical practitioners or aid workers. Others labor on the inner side, pouring out energy to further God’s plan. Still others go about the world as little lighthouses, quietly giving of their spiritual vitality to whomever they come in contact with. These “lighthouses” may have no conscious knowledge of what they are doing. They may not even consider themselves to be spiritual or religious, but the work of the give and take of energies will be invisibly going on all the same.

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