By Moshe Hecht
Remember those stories of the Baal Shem Tov and how he’d travel the span of days within just a few moments? “Kvitsas Haderech,” we were told. A kind of kabbalistic mystical power of traveling at lightspeed. Something even Elon Musk couldn’t have dreamed up. Personally, I believed it. I’m just like that. But for the more skeptical, you know what they say: “If you believe that all the stories happened, you’re a tipush (doesn’t translate nicely in English); If you don’t believe that it could have happened you’re also a tipush.”
But what’s the real message here? What can we take from away from the magical teleportation of the Baal Shem Tov?
In a past article, “7 Nonprofit Terms We Need to Change & Why,” I wrote briefly about the distinction between cultivation vs. teleportation. In that article, I explained the need to explore innovative methods and practices to “teleport” potential donors from their everyday routines so that they could experience the world of your cause. Firsthand.
Let’s do a basic 9th grade physics refresher.
When we consider the physics of the potential possibilities of teleportation, it’s not the speed of the traveler that we need to consider as the “tipping point” to make it possible, but, rather, the bending of space. The minimization of space. When we drive a car, we are moving. When we fly a rocket, we are moving. But when we start to move at supersonic speeds, the objective is not to move faster, but to bend the space between the two objects. It takes some abstract thinking and a lot of imagination, but go ahead, try it. You see, the actual word “Kvitsa” does not mean “spread,” or “speed” it means “shrink” as in the shrinking of the space.
When applying this concept to donor cultivation, garnering a culture of giving and tapping into our uber connected worldwide network of sharing and caring, we need to rid the space, the distractions, the confusions, the apathy – the noise from us and from the causes and needs of the world. The lesser the space, the closer the cause is to us. Yes, I’m talking about actual physical space. You need VR goggles to be IN the room. Live broadcasts to join the work. An army of influencers to spread the word. In our age, we can be in many places at the same time! We can smell the paint on a new home built for families in need. Hear the questions of children learning. We just need someone to show us how to do it.
Actually, the Baal Shem Tov was not the first to experience this spiritual hyperloop. In fact, Eliezer, Jacob and Avishai all experienced this same phenomenon … on the way to do a mitzvah.
The Baal Shem Tov, and the others like him, were so tapped into the needs of the the Jewish people, there were no distractions, no separation, no distance. He bypassed any “technological” operating system and teleported to the needs of the world, in real time.
We aren’t the Baal Shem Tov. But we do have the operating systems to teleport ourselves.
But we need the motivation, we need to be inspired, we need to feel the need right here right now … if we care enough if we REALLY care enough, it’s possible.
Think about it. You know the stories. People whose loved ones were trapped under a car, and they suddenly got superhuman strength to lift a 4,000 lb vehicle. All from sheer adrenaline. All because it was someone they loved. Right there in front of them. Do or die. Perhaps that is all it really takes … to REALLY care. Case in point: If we look at the stories of our ancestors, Avishai needed to save King David. The work was so urgent, and so close to his heart, it gave him the power to overcome all laws of physics.
If we make the needs of our world urgent, close and dear to our hearts, we will be able to narrow the space between problem and solution. We will make the impossible, possible. We will teleport. Just as Avishai, Eliezer, and Jacob. Just as the Baal Shem Tov and all others who cared enough to go beyond all barriers.
Moshe Hecht is a philanthropy futurist, public speaker and chief innovation officer of Charidy, a crowdfunding platform and consulting company that has helped 2000 organizations raise over a half billion dollars. Moshe is an accomplished entrepreneur whose passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving. His articles have been published publications such as Forbes, Nonprofit Quarterly and eJewishPhilanthropy. When Moshe is not at the office, he is writing music and enjoying downtime with his wife and three redheaded children.
This piece is the latest addition to Tzedaka’s Present: A column on current and future giving trends and oppurtunities.