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Let me say a bit about my relationship with G-d. I’m not a mystic, nor do I have out-of-body experiences. In terms of Orthodox Judaism, I am not a disciplined practitioner. I don’t have “conversations” with G-d, and I don’t formally pray to Him very often. But over the years, I’ve learned—I’ve experienced—that He is present in my life.
In this post, I won’t talk about G-d’s intervention or lack of involvement in the greater world. I don’t have answers for when He does intervene directly, nor do I know why. In fact, I think it is the height of absurdity for us to try to figure out the mind of G-d, except to know what He expects from us. I assume that His actions, motives, and goals are beyond my ken, and I think I have more sensible things to try to learn and understand in this lifetime.
Since I won’t speculate on divine intervention in the world, I can only share what I myself experience. I must first say that none of this makes me special or, for you cynics, crazy. Everyone has access to G-d, but we have to be open to the experience. It took me a while to arrive where I am because I’m the more rational, grounded type of believer. In other words, I needed an occasional swat with a divine two-by-four to get my attention. Over time, in spite of occasional lapses, G-d got through to me, or I opened up sufficiently to experience Him. Now I find myself regularly expressing silent gratitude and experiencing humility that I find myself in this time and place.
So what is that experience like?—
Presence. When I am feeling centered, open and non-defensive, I feel G-d’s presence; it is sometimes subtle, but there nonetheless. And I don’t know how to describe that except that it is a non-aloneness, an almost tangible quality of relatedness.
Meditation. Although I practice a limited amount of formal Jewish prayer, I invite G-d into my meditative moments. When I am calm and silent in my heart, there is a fullness and peacefulness that I feel. I begin my meditation with the Shema and then pray for the health and well-being of those whom I love and care for. I sometimes get topics for posts. I don’t think G-d cares so much about my next OP, but one way I serve Him is through my writing. Do all my divinely inspired ideas work out? I don’t know; I haven’t tracked them. But I do know that if I’m to be influenced, it’s when I’m still and silent enough to open to ideas.
Incidents. I think a fine example is a recent series of outcomes. I was delighted to learn that the writer, @richardharvester (as he identifies himself here at Ricochet), was coming to town (Poinciana, FL) so we agreed to schedule a book signing on April 9. These kinds of events usually require a lot of time to plan: advertising, room reservations, and I knew I would need to co-sponsor Richard with a large organization in this community. And it all fell into place. My neighbor is a member of Hadassah—she loved the idea and got the agreement of her co-president—done! Room reservation (which usually needs to be done months in advance) for the best room in our development—done! Advertising opportunities—closed-circuit TV channel, an announcement for our development’s magazine with looming deadlines: done! Now some of you will say it was luck or coincidence. It’s okay with me if you say that. But I would say it was divine intervention. Not on my behalf specifically, but because this event was intended to happen.
Why is any of this important? I know so many people who, in spite of being married or having many friends, feel they are traveling this world alone and isolated. In one sense we all are. But in another sense, we are never alone. We only have to realize that truth for ourselves. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, “Divine intervention changes nature, but it is human initiative—our approach to G-d—that changes us.”