One of our rovers just forwarded to me a letter that he sent to a friend he had met this past summer. His friend had asked him how to become closer to G‑d, and below is his response.
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment forum below.
This goal that you have chosen is one that will change your life profoundly. By working on increasing our connection to G‑d – intellectually, emotionally, and practically – we embark on a journey towards realizing the purpose for which we were born and the role we play in the course of universal progress.
The mystical texts of kabbalah and chassidic philosophy teach us that in addition to the "animal soul" – the unique vivifying force that makes us human – each of us also has an additional soul, a piece of G‑d Himself, which He has placed within us.
This means that each of us is always, at every moment in time, intrinsically and inextricably connected to G‑d—we literally have a part of Him within us. This connection always exists, however without the right nourishment and support it can be almost completely dormant.
Unfortunately, there are many, many Jewish people who have not had the opportunity to receive the relevant education and upbringing and may not even be consciously aware that this connection exists, let alone the fact that they have the opportunity and responsibility to nourish it.
By awakening and correctly nourishing the soul, we move it out of dormancy and cause it to thrive and live. In doing so, we change ourselves from being a person who was simply going about life, to one who has an active conscious, intellectual, emotional, and hands-on connection with G‑d.
G‑d created a universe, and each of us individually within it, for a reason. He has a specific plan for each of us, and a unique relationship planned and awaiting each of us, waiting for us to make it happen. He has also given us specific guidance in terms of how to go about achieving this connection.
The Hebrew word "mitzvah," often loosely translated as a good deed, is more precisely translated as both "commandment" and "connection." These two translations for the one word are by no means coincidental. G‑d has given us a means to connect to Him by observing these mitzvot-commandments-connections.
Some of the most fundamental of these connections are to believe in one G‑d, to love Him, to be in awe of Him, and to pray to Him.
In fact, it is a mitzvah (i.e. commandment and connection) to pray every day. To communicate with G‑d, to ask Him for the things we need. This may well include a prayer for success in increasing our active relationship with G‑d and becoming closer to Him in a readily apparent way.
In addition, it is imperative that you take this special relationship that you are developing and allow it to express itself in a tangible way. This can be something like putting a few coins into a charity box every day, celebrating the Shabbat, or donning tefillin. The important thing is for our spiritual bond with our Creator be anchored in something concrete and real.
Please let me know how your journey progresses and if there is any way that I can help.