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Monday, August 19, 2013

What's God Got To Do With It?

Elul 14
We are almost halfway through the month of Elul, and we have been thinking and speaking and reading a lot about teshuva.  Often we think of teshuva as a process we undertake to strengthen or repair relationships we have with others.  But the most profound form of teshuva can come when we seek to repair … or redefine … or rediscover the relationship we have with God. 

In his book, These Are the Words, Rabbi Art Green writes:
The first person to undertake teshuvah was the very first human.  Adam realized the magnitude of his sin in the Garden … and sought to be reconciled with God.  Teshuva in this case would mean re-establishing the intimacy and trust that existed between God and God’s beloved creatures before the expulsion from Eden.  Teshuva, in this key story, could not mean the re-creation of innocence.  That childlike aspect of Eden was gone forever.  But a new relationship, one more mature since it had faced and overcome the moment of doubt and betrayal, was Adam’s goal. It is this deeper faith, one that emerges from struggle with the self, that is the goal of teshuva.

God, for me, is neither judge nor King, but the force of goodness connecting all creatures and things to one another.  God is beyond me and within me.  God is my source of courage and strength, compassion and love.

For you, does God play a role in the work of teshuva?  

If you struggle with a belief in God, has the spiritual work of Elul helped at all in the struggle?
How might you use this time of Elul to nurture your understanding of or relationship to or belief in the Eternal?

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