Sabbath Reading and Praying

Reading the Torah is an act of faith in itself. Why take the time from your busy schedule and competing needs of others to attend to the words contained in a book — even if they are the words of a God you don’t understand and probably never will?

I read the Torah not because it tells me what to do but because it tells me how to improve my thinking, my intentions and my goals in life. I spend the time every Saturday morning reading the Torah, praying and thinking and meditating, because it gives me a balance and meaning.

Whether your personal philosophy is to believe that the words must be taken “literally” or symbolically, the process of the mind and heart is engaged. The words of the Torah, translated into English are someone else’s interpretation of the Hebrew inscriptions, without benefit of knowing all the context of life when the first words appeared and without benefit of knowing the context of the life and knowledge of the translator. Thus the words of the Bible require me to consider their meaning regardless of whether I seek to follow their literal meaning or symbolic meaning. 

The great epiphany here for me is a recognition of the awesome size and contour of uncertainty. Regardless of what I decide the meaning is for me, the person next to me can have at least some differences considering the context of his life, education and experiences. The recognition of this vast unknowable space is rather like the physicist’s search for the “beginning” of the universe, which in turn has led to wondering if this is the only universe and what all that dark matter is that takes up 2/3 of our “universe.”

It is a recognition of something larger than ourselves, of forces greater than our personal decisions, and submitting to the inevitable power of something greater than our understanding controlling our very life and death. And in submitting to that greater power or force or God, we become empowered beyond our rational understanding. This is what drives me to be a better person and to leave the world a little better off than the way I found it.

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