• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    Finding & keeping God – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. On Yom Kippur I have my moments when I am actually rather certain that God exists, but by the next day I am not so sure any more. Is something wrong with me?

    cantor moshe oysher prayerA. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said once that faith is not something which one achieves and then possesses, like a ten-dollar bill. Like the body, faith needs to be continually fed.

    On Yom Kippur, the day, the atmosphere, the melodies, the words of the prayer-book – all help us to find God and faith. Take these things away and the soul becomes hungry again.

    To feed it successfully you need to place yourself in the right atmosphere, as you did on Yom Kippur.

    Not necessarily in a synagogue, though it helps. Nor specifically indoors: in some ways the outdoors is a better window on the greatness of the Creator and the majesty of His creation. On your own if you wish, enabling you to wonder at the sheer miracle of being alive and the blessings that far outweigh the anxieties that we all experience.

    In the midst of melody: God is in the music that wafts through the universe (as well as in the humour that finds spirituality even in laughter – look at Psalm 2 for evidence of the Divine sense of humour). In ideas that stretch the mind. In ethics that find the humanity in others and the capacity to love even the least likeable of our neighbours.

    Judaism would add, in the life of the commandments, which carry you into the presence of God and give you access to what a modern thinker has called normative mysticism, the mysticism that is open to the most ordinary of God’s creatures.

    You may not always succeed in comprehending the meaning of everything in Creation, but in being sensitive to the works of God you feel your faith and keep it alive and healthy.

    Comments are closed.