Being a Spiritual Jew in a Secular Society
Jewish spiritual practices are at the center of my life.
I understand Jewish spiritual practices as an effort to become aware of God’s presence in this world, that God’s is present in our daily lives, and we have a moral responsibility to respond to that presence.
I admit it is hard to maintain an awareness of the Divine in a secular world. Jewish spiritual practices are designed to awaken us up from our mundane habits and everyday routines and to encourage us to focus on what truly matters in our lives.
When I study Torah, I believe God is communicating with me. For many Jews, and I include myself, immersing ourselves in the study of Torah is a profound means of becoming close to God. Studying Torah brings enhanced spiritual meaning to our lives.
Whenever I have a bad day, studying Torah brings a sense of hope into my life. Whenever I have a good day, studying Torah reminds me of my responsibility to help others in need.
The book of Exodus records that when Moses descended from Mt. Sinai, after receiving Torah, the skin of his face was radiant and beaming. Jewish study, approached with a loving spirit, can light up your face and light up your life.
Torah study lifts you to another realm, where one grapples with deep and meaningful issues, and feels connected to a conversation that has been going on for many centuries among those who love to study Torah. It is very powerful knowing that I am studying the same text that my ancestors studied. I pray and hope that my descendants have the same experience.
The Torah is God’s gift to the world.