Elul 4, 5779
September 4, 2019
means “to be at ease” or “to trust.” In modern Hebrew this word is also used to mean security. In classic Jewish texts, the ultimate security comes from the faith we place in God. As we work on taking an accounting of our soul during this month of Elul, it is important to spend some time contemplating our relationship with God, whatever we believe God to be. For some, God is the Source of all spiritual goodness. For others, “faith in God” are the words we use to describe a moral universe bending toward justice.
From our Sources
Cursed is the person who trusts solely in people and makes his flesh his source of strength and turns away from God. He will be like a tree in the desert and will not see when good comes. He will inhabit the parched places of the desert, a salty, uninhabited land. Blessed is the person who trusts in God, and whose hope God is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not see when the heat comes, but its leaf shall be green; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, nor shall it cease from yielding fruit.
In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing you will die a million deaths before they finally [bury] you…. Worship power – you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart – you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on. [Worship of something greater than ourselves allows for] the really important kind of freedom involving attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them.
-David Foster Wallace, This is Water
What does faith in God mean to you?
When do you have (have you had) faith in God?
What has that faith given you?
Incorporate a [new] prayer into your daily routine: the Shema before you go to sleep, a prayer of gratitude upon waking, the Motzi before you eat a meal. Notice its effects in your daily life.