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How Do You Get Faith?

How Do You Get Faith?

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Question:

I guess this is called a crisis of faith. With all the tragedy and suffering in the world, how am I supposed to have faith? Look what's happening around us. I would like to feel faith, but it doesn't come. It seems so irrational.

Response:

Faith - what a laden word! I am envious when I encounter someone with faith so strong and simple that nothing can shake it. For the rest of us, however, faith is a decision. And sometimes that decision is just way too difficult to make at a given moment. But to abandon it - what reason would be left for life if there is no meaning, nothing in which to believe?

I'm blessed with children, and when each one was born I was overwhelmed with love for the child. A friend of mine hadn't this sweet blessing. And then she sought out a child to make her own - another woman's birth child became her legal child. And she loved him. How? How does a woman sign some papers, take a baby in her arms, and feel love? Yet at some point, the reservoirs of maternal instinct came flooding forth. From the very first instant she acted in all of the behaviors of love. She held him, and caressed him, and bathed him, and fed him.....and one day she came to feel true, deep, maternal love for him.

Faith, I think, is not much different. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don't.... but what my heart may be closed to, my brain reminds me is real. There is a G‑d. And He is good. When I'm in pain, that faith may become cloudy.... but I know it's there.

Here's a simple way to make that decision: Light candles for Shabbat. Whatever you may feel, when you put that match to the wick, cover your eye and say the blessing, and then open them to the light of Shabbat - you know this is real. The flame is real. The spiritual connection is real. This act of Jewish women through thousands of years of painful history, and across all social and cultural and geographic borders... this is real. And your faith, too, will become real.

Mrs. Bronya Shaffer is a noted globetrotting lecturer on Jewish women's issues, and serves as a personal counselor and mentor for women, couples and adolescents. Mrs. Shaffer, a responder for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service, lives with her ten children in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
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Murray Taylor England April 8, 2015

never let it go I always believed that there was some unexplainable power, full of love close by, indeed all around me. But for most of my life I could not see it clearly as I was blinded by hate and fear and I could not hear it call me whilst I was shouting and lying and cheating. So I remained in that dark empty place that best suited those who take from life and hurt and destroy.
The answer for finding that power, and with it a strength that will never leave you was so very simple. I started to try to change my behaviour. Anger lessoned in me over time and at 44 I made a choice. I was going to except that there was a loving friend waiting to help me, and on a spring Saturday morning I finally asked for help
All that is asked of us is to live our life as well as we can, keep love near you and in you at all times, the rest will follow. if you return to hating you will find your faith has gone.
my faith needs no name and requires no worship, where ever there is life, you can find him, his waiting. Reply

Mendy USA February 24, 2015

barry wicksman is correct, and this beautiful article is wrong >I am envious when I encounter someone with faith so strong and simple that nothing can shake it<

You shouldn't be. It means that person was so indoctrinated she can no longer think.

>But to abandon it - what reason would be left for life if there is no meaning, nothing in which to believe?<

To believe in something—true or not—because you need that belief in order to find meaning is a poor excuse. An opiate.

>There is a G-d. And He is good<

You wouldn't know it from the 10,000 young kids who die slow, agonizing deaths in Africa every single day because no one sent rain for years (this has been going on for thousands of years--"And there was famine in the land"). Or from watching prey animals--fully possessing nervous systems and experiencing t'saar ba'alei chaim--being agonizingly ripped to shreds by carnivores. And all this is the doing of a good G-d?

>Light candles for Shabbat... your faith…will become real<

Is this the message—that doing mitzvos will cloud reality? Reply

Esther Gordon Little Rock February 19, 2015

feeling faith Faith is innate, something with which is not taught, but rather instinctively felt. One way of being able to experience our faith is to begin observing one mitzvah, lighting Shabbat candles every week, for example. While lighting the candles, we may feel a spiritual connection with
G-d. After several weeks of lighting candles, hopefully, it will become a special time of the week, one you look forward to arriving.

As you continue to light candles, you might also recognize that your feeling of faith has increased and that you want to take on another mitzvah.

Faith is a little like falling in love. We can't plan on falling in love or put it on our calendars. It is something we feel; it is a spontaneous emotion which also has the ability to increase and grow given the correct circumstances. So, too, can faith. Reply

Esther Gordon Litt February 19, 2015

One way to obtain faith is by doing.... I believe that if we begin by observing one mitzvah, and do this regularly with feeling, we will be able to acknowledge our level of faith increasing. For example, if we light Shabbat candles and pray every week without fail, our sense of our faith will grow.

The more mitzvot we take on, the greater the understanding of and feelings we will be able to sense in ourselves.

Having faith is something we do without thinking about; we learn to have faith automatically. At first we might feel self conscious and question why we believe in faith without having something concrete to touch, feel and understand.

Faith is similar yo the emotion of falling in love. That is not something we deliberately decide we will feel for another person, it "just happens." The same idea can be said about faith - allow faith to germinate and it will blossom and grow.


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barry wicksman August 28, 2014

sorry but this article says nothing to me. It doesn't rally address the problem. Reply

Anonymous April 19, 2014

faith and childless There are many people in this world without children. Children should not be the basis for faith, God should be. God is love, and love can be found in friendship, love of pets, and other family members. There are even people who have no human love in this world...but if they have the love of God, which iis bigger than anything. Reply

miguel January 17, 2014

faith I need help. I wanna believe in god I'm fighting too but something inside me is stopping me I want too but I have a hard time being focused do you have advice Reply

tuvia brooklyn, ny August 4, 2011

faith and religion i believe that to accept G-d is a real and fine and normal thing to do. i do it.

but i also (respectfully) have decided to refuse to get involved in my Jewish religion. Why?

I don't want to deal with the fear and the guilt and the ritual and the cage.

I am a yeshiva boy for a year, and still eat kosher and still lay tefillin and turn my phone off on shabbos.

the rest i simply must dispense with -- even if, after i die, i find out it is all true.

that is, i accept i may be wrong. but i won't say i'm wrong til after i go.

any thoughts? Reply

Jordon Grubic Rockville, Maryland April 16, 2010

Beautiful That is truly a beautiful explanation. I thought, 'Wow, that is exactly what I do!' My faith is largely in my actions that connect me to G-d, which is exactly what this article emphasizes. Reply

Judith Fairfield, USA via chabadiowacity.com August 1, 2009

To 'Faith' in Manila Dear 'Faith':
What you are looking for is faith in yourself- to make right your wrong doing. Your comment is not really about your faith in Gd. In order to make something whole- to heal the guilt- you need to do what you are afraid of doing, but know it is the right thing to do. Guilt is about lack of courage. The fact that we have a feeling of guilt is a gift Gd gave us as a compass to guide us back to wholeness. As for Gd, know that He has faith in you to have courage because He made you in His image. Reply

me May 21, 2009

I'm having the same problem. I wish I could find an answer. You're not alone. Reply

Anonymous Forest Hills, NY May 8, 2009

I try to not get distracted by all the tragedy and suffering in the world, because G-d does not create tragedy or suffering. Man does that. Nature does it at times , as well. Not that tragedy and suffering is irrelevant, but G-d existed before everything and will exist at the end of everything. It's tough, I know, not to get sidetracked or bogged down by it, but if you do, faith will be a lot more diffcult to come by. Reply

sue Kanata, ON April 24, 2009

pray for it At least, try some pryaer or meditation formations, asking of the great universe, to give you the awareness that will help you to observe what you feel is your faithfulness.
There's a hymn to the One that goes "How Great is Thy Faithfulness". It is very inspiring. If someone starts with the vague assumption that the enormityof Creation is faithful in every detail toward the intricate life in microcosm, they may, indeed, have a good reason to sing this hymn themselves. Reply

Anonymous Manila, Philippines April 24, 2009

Faith Very interesting and deepened my faith. Im now struggling with guilt I have done in the past. My husband never know about it and I never had the courage to tell. Please tell me how faith should come in in this troubled situation Reply

Anonymous Somerset, NJ April 23, 2009

Faith Faith is a feeling ... of fullness, I suppose. There is a big difference between the feeling of faith, and that which you have faith in. Or faith about.

Faith, then is the emotional equivalent of conviction. Reply

denise miriammam via jewishidaho.com April 23, 2009

this was wonderful just what i needed today Reply

Cheryl Q Orange County, CA April 23, 2009

Faith Faith isn't about good things happening all the time. Faith is knowing that no matter what happens G_d will get me through it. If we did not experience the darkness, how would we appreciate the light? When my 17 year old son died suddenly in an accident, I did not blame G_d. I do not understand why but I believe G_d had a plan. Did it keep me from hurting? No. I greived for 4 years before I could let him go emotionally-all the while never questioning that G_d had a reason.. How did I get through those 4 years? G_d carried me when I could not carry myself. Reply

Anonymous atlanta April 20, 2009

beautifully stated.
thank you for your thoughtful, emotionally resonant words. Reply

MARGARITA BOWERS AKRON, OHIO/U.S.A. January 14, 2009

I NOW have real Faith It took YEARS for me.
I always wanted real faith like a few people that I met had. But, it was so difficult for me to fully trust and to "let go" and leave everything to G_d. I lived in a lot of fear.

And now, when I am 60 years old, it has finally come to me. My love for Israel grew more and more. I saw the answers to the prayers that I prayed for others. Also, He would give me what I needed, at just the time I needed it.

Now, I trust G_d for everything. No matter what happens in my life, I KNOW that "G_d is in the details". I don't have to fear anything anymore. PRAISE BE TO G_D !!! Reply

Richard Lauzon Lehigh Acres, FL / USA December 23, 2008

What is faith?? I have been told: "I can't believe in what I cannot see!".
NO?? Well do we see and feel things that we cannot prove with our senses?
We do, continually, daily, and throughout all of our lives we put faith in that which we have no sight of, nor of what we cannot smell!
We in FL. have just lived through the greatest forces of Nature, which is evident by the effects of it's existance.
Hurricanes have devastated our lives, although I could NOT see nor smell them, I swear to all, that they exists and will continually show their power by just a change in atmospheric pressures, thus bring about a tropical storm from the West Coast of Africa, and though I could not see it, I believed that my life would be better spent somewhere else for a few weeks or, at least until the dangers unseen forces were past.
The creation shows us The Father: e.g. :We do NOT need color to live, but, G_d went beyond shades of grey, and blessed our lives with color everywhere, breath-taking witnesses. Reply

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