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Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, ‘Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?’ No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. (Deut. 30:11) –Moses
Ever since @iwe pointed out this paragraph to me (which I had only glanced over in the past), I have been in love with it. It speaks so much to my own experience, my own realization about my faith, and the accessibility that I feel toward Judaism and G-d, that it resonates in my heart.
Many years ago, I drifted away from Judaism and pursued Zen Buddhism. In spite of Zen teachings which never referred to a personal G-d, although in a way it alluded to an impersonal G-d through the term, “absolute,” I have always had a sense of G-d, however subtle and distant that sense was, and that feeling never left me.
But when I finally returned to Judaism, again through the gentle encouragement of @iwe to explore it, my life changed. Through my limited study, practice, engagement with two Torah study partners and my interactions with iwe and his family, G-d’s presence has become much more intimate for me. I don’t in any way make this comment to elevate myself above anyone else. Surely there are many, many people who have a closer relationship, a more intense and knowledgeable connection than I do. Yet here is what I have learned from the paragraph quoted above:
I know now that anyone, any person, can reach out to G-d; he is waiting for us, for me, always available and desiring of my being close to Him. He is not distant, but ever-present; no one—no rabbi, scholar, practicing Jew—needs to intercede on my behalf. No one needs to teach me anything to make that possible, point out my failings and weaknesses, for me to experience the truth and love of G-d. When I speak His name, invite Him to be with me, allow my heart to be filled, I know that He is here.
My practice is limited. I know I could do more. And I’m also convinced that G-d is happy that I seek His wisdom and strength.
And I am so very grateful that He is always here.Published in