This I Believe

Avital - Merion, Pennsylvania
Entered on July 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question

My earliest memory of Judaism is from when I was four years old. Wrapping myself in my father’s tallis as he prayed, I looked around and saw the men fervently praying and swaying with kavana and love for Hashem. It felt safe, warm, and comforting.

As a little girl faith in Hashem came naturally for me. He was there, he cared for me and I truly was his daughter. I could only go to sleep at night after I had faithfully recited the Shema, believing that Hashem would watch over me and protect me. For me preying was a special experience where I felt as though Hashem was really listening.

In third grade, I developed and anxiety disorder. When I knew that I was going to die, I would talk to Hashem and it would me calmer, knowing that once I died, I would be with him. I truly believed in Hashem as a father, a reassuring one who cared for me and loved me for who I am.

But as I grew older questions and doubts started to grow. In middle school we began to study the Chumash (the text) seriously. Suddenly, all these questions pooped up about issues I never really thought about before. Why was homosexuality against the Torah? Wouldn’t Hashem accept us as we were made? Why should we stone someone who doesn’t keep shabbos? Isn’t that someone’s personal choice? In eighth grade I was in honors Chumash and we did the translation ourselves. I began to see Hashem as almost barbaric, if he was supposed to be so loving why would he want us to kick out the other tribes? No answers we satisfactory. Now I saw Hashem as an angry and controlling father. I did not want to believe in such a God and I struggled with myself for a while.

Today I believe in the God of my childhood, but I do not believe that He controls and influences every little thing that occurs in the world. I believe that this God (while sipping tea and eating crumpets with our deceased beloveds upstairs) is watching over us with a lazy eye, only interfering when necessary. I believe he created the world, placed us there and let us do what we wanted with it. I don’t think that everything has to happen for a Godly reason, I believe they occur because when God created the earth, he was aware that it could go a bit berserk at times.

I believe in a god who recognizes that we are human and we err. I believe in a God who accepts all religions as they are and loves them equally. Most of all, I believe in a God who loves all of us and accepts us for who we are and who will not judge us when we sin.