Sometimes, I find it really hard to believe. I realize that coming from a rabbi, that might be surprising. But it’s true. It isn’t always easy for me.
I tend to be rational. I’m INTP–I analyze things to death in my neverending thought process. And belief in religion, in God, is something that is arational (I don’t think it’s irrational, against rational thinking–but arational, apart from or without rational thinking). And some days I see things in the world, I have experiences, that make it really, really hard to believe.
And yet, I do.
Maybe because it’s where I’m comfortable, or it’s where I find some comfort. But I think that more than that it’s because of those moments here and there where I’ve felt something beyond myself.
And those moments are few and far between. Those moments are not something I often talk about. Those moments are a little bit out of my comfort zone. Those moments do not fit into what I generally consider my day to day world view. But those moments are real and I know that. And they help to shape me.
Moments in which I felt my mood transformed during a Shabbat evening service after a horrible week as voices rose together in song; in which I taught something new to another person and got to share that “aha” moment with them; in which I saw an awesome, beautiful sunset over mountains while floating in the sea, surrounded by dear friends; in which I hugged someone at a time when we both needed it more than could be expressed; in which I stood on a rooftop and prayed the evening prayer service and found comfort remembering tragedy; in which I helped create justice and righteousness in the world; in which my voice joined with thousands of others singing a prayer for healing; in which I had a conversation with a loved one that brought our relationship to a new place.
Those are the moments in which I don’t question the idea of belief because I can feel something different. And that’s tough for me because I tend to fight feelings. But I acknowledge those feelings. And they help me to believe during all the other moments of my life. At least mostly.
Yes, belief is hard for me. And yet, I choose to believe. And to rely on those moments in which it’s a little bit easier. And to remember that in those moments when I don’t believe, that that’s ok, too. And that if I continue to do, to live my life the best I can, to go along with doing tzedakah (righteous giving and living) and mitzvot (sacred obligations) and Jewish tradition, and to do my best to make the world better, I’ll generally find another moment that helps. And even if I don’t, I’ve helped create a better world.