The name of our new month, Shevat, can also be read as shevet,which means rod. The Arizal reveals that Shevat corresponds to the Divine attribute of Netzach, which literally means victory. Reb Nosson explains that netzach, victory is achieved through knowing what to do and how to do it—basically, by getting good advice. In the words of King Solomon, “Victory is achieved through seeking abundant advice.”
Finding the right advice is like getting the staff of mastery in your hand. How many times would a simple piece of advice have saved a relationship, a job or something else that was lost? If only we knew the right way to act; if only we could identify when we need to focus on ourselves and when doing so is inconsiderate; if only we could pinpoint when we need to share our attention and when we should avert our gaze.
And the same is true in more subtle dilemmas. If we only understood how to actualize our potential, there would be so much we could achieve. I always seem to have a good idea of what my friend needs to do to move forward in her life, but I’m often at a loss when it comes to my own path. Shevat is the month when we work on gaining proper perspective by taking advice. But I need to have the humility to seek good counsel.
It’s no accident that the fifteenth of Shevat is the “new year of the tree.” Advice is like water that causes plants to flourish and bear fruit. I need to pray to find and follow the correct advice. If I do so, I’m sure to find my way.
Beloved G-d, please show me what to do and how to do it. If I will only have the humility to seek proper advice, I’m sure that You’ll help me find understanding so that my tree will grow right, bringing You ever more into my life, every single day.