Religion & Beliefs

What Is God?

If someone were to come up to me and ask the question "Do you believe in G-d," I think I would say, "What’s G-d?" To that response, the confused random questioner would ask me while staring down at my tzitzis, … Read More

By / January 16, 2009

If someone were to come up to me and ask the question "Do you believe in G-d," I think I would say, "What’s G-d?" To that response, the confused random questioner would ask me while staring down at my tzitzis, up at my yarmulke and into my deceptive Jewish eyes, "Aren’t you religious?" To that I’d reply, "Am I?" Pardon my seeming ethnocentrism or somewhat limited knowledge of other religions and art but Christianity and Michelangelo have messed up the original Jewish conception of G-d. Here’s how it goes. Now if this person were to ask me about G-d, I’d say, "Do I believe in a giant smiling and angry bearded man in the sky pointing fingers to create a man or waving his arms around? No I don’t believe in that." Then that random questioner would probably walk away.

You are correct if you thought I believe in G-d. I believe in that oneness that I’ve come to understand as being everything that we can and cannot comprehend. The oneness that Jews proclaim twice a day, Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokainu Hashem Echad, Hear O Israel; the Lord is our G-d, The Lord is one. G-d is the infinite oneness of everything that is all that is, was and will be. That’s right G-d, the infinite Hashem. Am I preaching? Maybe a little, but I feel I need to. And how does this "fairytale like idea" fit into reality. Please, just let me explain before thinking of me as a weak individual who gives into "organized religion" because I can’t cope with "real life" and need to comfort myself with the one of the great "opium[s] of the people."

Everything in life contains both revealed and unrevealed oneness. For example, ask most people in the world what would be the ultimate goal for this planet and I can almost guarantee you that they will most likely reply love and/or peace. Why? Think about it. Oh that’s right, oneness. How nice would it be if we all loved each other peacefully? Think about Woodstock (not 1994, and definitely not 1999 with Kid Rock or Limp Bizkit, G-d help us all.) Think of two people coming together and sharing a connection. Look around and you’ll see numerous people walking and talking in pairs or even more, connecting, discussing; sharing thoughts and ideas. The only reason why we don’t see this is or might not usually notice it is because we’re so used to it. Or how about sex which is the ultimate expression of oneness; two bodies, coming together in beautiful synchronicity (hopefully). Each individual expressing each other’s connection and yearning for the other. And when that synchronistic sex is not just a one night stand or a four month sex-based relationship but an actual long term love, the oneness is arguably one of the most beautiful things there can be.

Other examples of oneness include the one sperm it takes to create a child and the one cell that is foundation for your whole being; each minute structure containing all of you, your past as well as future generations to come. Look around and see the oneness of the sky, the grass, the sand, and the oceans. Nothing’s really split apart but all are connected together within earth. And all of earth connected in all of time and space and beyond. And everything is within G-d. There really isn’t anything that is separate from anything! Think of G-d as being the source of everything. Stop! Don’t picture a man with a beard; this will ruin the contemplation process.

This is me following the Torah commandments to love and know G-d, which really means to love everything because all we know is an emanation of G-d from the highest to lowest of that oneness. Think about Stevie Wonder’s album Songs in the Key of Life.  Songs of the Key of Life isn’t really Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life is a reflection of the inner being of Stevie Wonder. And that is only a minute degree of who Stevie Wonder actually was in 1976 that is only a reflection of who he really is. Who is Stevie Wonder really? Ask Stevie, his wife or Berry Gordy.  This is just in the same way that the Universe or the Earth are both emanations of G-d and G-d is within those creations. However those creations not actually G-d himself. A Kabbalistic example would be to think of yourself with your brain literally being on top of your body. The brain emanates thoughts down to the hand onto paper, to the loins and to all other facets of your body which in enable you to create and to function as a human. Everything is an emanation of giving from above to below. Why do you think the Ten Commandments are split up five and five? Five for humans relating to G-d, five for humans relating to humans. You can’t do one without the other because of this incredible connectivity. And what happens when a relationship breaks apart, when someone is brutally murdered, or even something as simple as one dollar, these all break that oneness. These all create boundaries and breakaway from that goal that we all want which, as corny as it sounds, is ultimately true love and peace. Why do you think the Beatles are the most popular band on the planet? Paul McCartney sang about love, John Lennon preached peace, and George Harrison was all about spirit. I’d say Ringo was some sort of an English heartbeat.            

I’m not asking you to eat herring or dance around with beards. All I ask is that you rid your perception of a man in the sky once and for all and meditate on everything, which is all a reflection of the oneness of G-d. Contemplate that this is not an abstract Aristotelian G-d but a G-d that is involved in everything because He is in everything, emanating from the highest to the lowest, the lowest is that being here on earth. Maybe then that random man will come back and ask me, "Do you believe in oneness?" And I’d say, as a Hall and Oates song plays softly in the background, "Yes stranger… I do."