This week I had the amazing experience of hearing a webinar given by Rabbi Akiva Tatz on Purim. He is an incredible Rabbi, the author of some beautiful books and I will listen to as many webinars by him as I can get my hands on.
There was so much to this, I wish I could share his wisdom, but I most loved listening to his talk because it reminded me of something that I forget so easily: G-d is right beside me. Well, if you are religious you do believe that G-d is everywhere all around us at all times but for some reason I don't think any of us regularly remember this.
How can we forget about G-d? How? It is so strange and yet most of the day we imagine we are either alone or only with the people who are within earshot or line of sight to us. Most of us simply do not behave at every moment as if our Holy G-d is with us.
Rabbi Tatz reminded me that this is a game we play with G-d and he plays it right back with us. If we act like he can't see us, he acts like he can't see us. If we push him away, he goes twice as far. And likewise, if we pull him close, he wraps his arms around us tight. If we remember that he is with us every second, he speaks to us. And so on and so forth.
There is so much more to this - here is another Purim talk by Rabbi Tatz
or you could read World Mask or Living Inspired.
I was inspired to share these religious thoughts by a recent blog post by Adam Hamilton. I really respect and admire Pastor Hamilton. When I lived right by his Church I sometimes went to services there. I have heard him speak at a Synagogue and have listened to him live online and enjoyed his podcasts. Whenever I had the chance to hear Adam speak I was deeply moved. He is an amazing religious leader who is so evidently connected to G-d and who brings G-d to the people he speaks to, no matter your religion.
In this blog post Adam divides the Torah and the New Testament into three buckets and says we can read more about how to understand the Bible in his new book called Making Sense of the Bible. I have not read his book, but the bucket concept really upset me.
Jews believe that the Torah was given by G-d and is the truth. So when Adam suggests there is a bucket that does not express the heart, character or will of G-d, it sounds ridiculous to me. I like his explanation of how we all pick and choose how we follow the scriptures -- I just want to suggest to Adam that we can accept the word of G-d as truth given directly from G-d but simply admit that we can't understand it. There are scholars who spend their entire lives studying Torah and arguing about what certain passages mean. It is very shallow to pick out those terrible passages that don't "feel" like they are expressing G-d's heart and dump them in a bucket that we can treat differently from the passages that make us feel good.
I would rather simply admit that I don't understand and continue to pray and ask for understanding.
Purim is the holiday of hidden things and that which is hidden being revealed. It's a great time to remember that G-d is with us every single moment and be grateful and happy about that!