God: Part Two
Jews have a hard time with God because many so- called progressive, Conservative and even secular Jews have other Jewish outlets to encounter the Jewish experience other than directly dealing with God. We have gastronomic Judaism where we can go to the deli and eat our favorite cultural delights and say, “That is my Judaism.” Some will engage in cultural organizations that help the cause of Jewish survival. They say that is their Judaism. Others who aren’t sure what they are but have Jewish names or had Jewish ancestry are out there too. They have found other religions or no none at all. Yet they too retain that sense of identity despite the fact they don’t know what to do with it.
The problem is that we don’t have just one way to define ourselves. Even traditional Jews who practice the laws, the Halachah, can perform the functions of what God wanted from us but that does not automatically mean that they have a personal relationship with God, a way of communicating and believing that the creator sees into our hearts and souls!
I believe that Jews are the people of the commentary. We love to comment and to seek to understand something that we feel is deeper inside a text. Whether that text is the Torah, the Talmud, the Midrash or the Kabbalah, we possess that powerful sense of questioning about what we see inside the words. That has carried us into so many other realms of inquiry and is partly responsible why Jews have made so many contributions into the realms of the arts and sciences.
I am afraid that we have become too placid about searching for the eternal question of God inside our lives. Is it a passing thought or even a distant memory? I would really like to know what people are thinking about in relation to God. I am sure that one does not have to be Jewish to have an inquiring mind. Please! To the contrary, all I am saying is that there seems to be a general sense of serious questioning about God in our lives. Fundamentalist and Charismatics in all faiths have their place. People on the other end of the spectrum have their place as well. I am not talking about sitting in a communal worship setting and asking these kinds of questions. I am referring to the private life of a person who can sit down, take the time to read a book or write a thought and imagine a discussion with the Holy One like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Sounds crazy?
We are losing our spiritual edge if we become immersed only in the digital reality of technology. We must rescue the part of ourselves that in humility questioned our reason for existence and our mission or purpose for being here. It is not that we will necessarily answer that question but just to ask it and to know that God wants us to ask it even if there is not a direct response to our questions about “Why” is good enough. We must feed the spiritual mind with questions. The spiritual side of ourselves relishes the questions. Have we come to an age where we are starving the spirit and feeding the intellect? What do you think?
Finally, too much is at stake for the continuity of our people not to address this question. It is a global problem when religion runs rampant and leads to war. But this is a private matter, an individual issue, for each person to figure out where they are in this world. A secular world that stifles the spirit of questioning and imagining our connection the Eternal One is equally destructive. Do we need to re-establish a balance in our lives where the matters of the spirit can remind us that inside each of us is a poet, a theologian and philosopher all tied together? Yes, think it is so. It is the creative side of who we are. Let’s not forget that precious aspect of our humanity.