Faith & Trust
Why Can’t I Be a Jew At Heart?
י״ז במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (15 בNovember 2019)
“Faith is on the inside, I don’t need to do mitzvoth for G-d to love me or to be considered a better person.” That’s what I thought for many years. I knew there was a Creator and I believed in His existence, but today I realize I didn’t really know Him at all. It’s true; faith is mainly on the inside, literally. But love naturally needs to be expressed and how will I express that love if not through doing the mitzvoth that He loves so much?
When I decided to get closer to G-d I realized I didn’t know him at all. That he loves us unconditionally and that he’s our Father who loves His children with immeasurable love is all true and it’s really hard to use words to describe it. But as every loving parent it’s important to Him that we follow the best path for us; the path which will help us actualize all our strengths and abilities embedded in us. When we use our G-d given talents we will reach the maximum level of self-actualization.
This can only happen if we listen to the one who created the most complex machine in the world called the body and soul of man. Only the one who created us knows the way to get maximum benefit from the gifts He gave us. To get to this benefit G-d gave us a ‘user’s manual’ a rule book that tells us how to live. And the more we function according to its instructions the further we will grow, reaching realms we never dreamed of.
Some people don’t believe the world to come exists or they doubt its existence. So they want to take advantage of this world to the max and enjoy everything it has to offer, for ‘life is short and each day will never return’. I know; I was there! I lived in the daily pursuit of physical and material pleasures, chasing after fulfilling my desires, looking for satisfaction always never to feel like I missed out on something. The more I did the emptier I felt. I always felt that people who observe Torah and Mitzvoth were unfortunate. I felt like they voluntarily entered jail and restricted themselves so much to the point they don’t enjoy the life that’s quickly passing by. That’s what I once believed. Today I realize I was the one in jail! I was a slave of my desires and just now that I live in the Torah’s framework of holiness I’m freer than ever!
Let’s assume for a moment there is no world to come only this world exists. So how would I enjoy myself more as someone religious or secular? As someone who lived in both worlds I can confidently say that that a Torah life is far more satisfying! When I lived a secular non-religious life I never felt the internal happiness I feel when my soul inside me is happy. So even from the viewpoint that there is no next world I would still choose a Torah life to make my life in this world happier and full of light. When not religious I always chased after fulfilling material desires in a never ending cycle; for the more you satisfy a desire the more it wants. So a Torah life gives me inner happiness even if there wouldn’t be another world. Add to this that in reality there is a next world so you profit twice! You live a fine life full of inner happiness and then you have the next world to reap the rewards.
If you really know that G-d created you, gives you life every moment and endless gifts on a daily basis and is your Father wants only to give you good, so how can you be ungrateful to Him and not do something for Him? How can you admit He exists but still cast aspersion on the truths of the Torah? how can you ask G-d ‘give , give’ and not give anything in return saying ‘it’s too difficult for me’?
Someone who lives according to the Torah finds his life fall into place with amazing orderliness. Everyone has tests; if not why did we come to this world? We came to make things better to fix things. And how can we fix anything if we didn’t get tools to fix them? The tests themselves are the way and the test itself brings the tools with it to repair what is wrong to help us reach our life’s true purpose. The Sender of the test also sent tools to help deal with it we only need to take those tools and use them. When a person change the way he sees things those things he sees also change. Keeping Mitzvoth seems a daunting and impossible task. Every new mitzvah I accepted was preceded by great fear and misgivings and a little voice whispering to me ‘this is not for you, it’s too hard…etc.’; but if G-d made me and He said I can do it, so He knows I can.
Can’t I be non-religious and be a good person? Of course you could! As someone non-religious I never felt I was a bad person. I had a great big heart and I loved to give and help others to be kind to all of creation and to myself. But the Torah definitely made me into a better person, because I’m using G-d’s instruction manual and I’m getting the maximum benefit the Creator put into creation by following His instructions. The Torah brings out the best qualities inside you. It tells us what’s really right or wrong. Even things we think are right and the best for us, if we follow the Torah we’ll find that it still knows better what is really good for us.
The Torah teaches us to control our desires and delay gratification. To control your desires so they don’t control you. Am I any better than anyone else? No. I’m not better than a secular non-religious person or anyone else for that matter. I’m just someone who discovered in midlife that I lived my life with the falsehood society accustomed me to and after many long years found the sweet truth that totally turned my life around improving it to the point beyond recognition. I discovered I was a princess, a daughter of the King who rules the whole universe, is totally good and benevolent and always giving. So if I have an opportunity to pay Him back in some small way, how can I refuse? They say a clock is the scariest instrument; it shows that another hour passed and will never return! I would once fill this hour with pleasures of this world which only emptied me out. Today I fill that hour with provisions to take with me to eternity.
No one forced me to choose this path of the Torah. I chose mitzvoth and newly and happily re-choose them every day! For I know what it was to live without them. I recall how before any resolution accepting a new mitzvah I was fearful and after doing them I would become full of great indescribable light. And the rewards are endless! I am awed by the rare merit I had to be chosen from amongst billions of people who weren’t chosen for this. My life of Torah is a life of true happiness and until you try it you won’t understand.
Thank You my Father for the great merit of enabling me to do Your will. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my love for You, the greatest love in the world.
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