Dear Rabbi,

If G‑d is a mystery to us, beyond human reason and logic, then how can we relate to Him?


You’re right, G‑d is essentially unknowable. Yes, He makes Himself known to us through His miracles, His prophets, His Torah, and by the very act of creating and sustaining our world and our very existence. But none of that can really provide information that defines who He is. Because He cannot be defined. In the language of the Kabbalists, He is infinite, even beyond “the beginning that cannot be known.”

So how can we pray or have any relationship with a being so unknowable, so undefinable, He can hardly be called a being?

The answer is because our relationship with G‑d is not measured by our capacity to understand Him, nor by heightened consciousness or any sublime ecstasy we claim to have from the experience of His presence. Our relationship to G‑d is measured by what we do, by our firm adherence to the morals that He has established for us and by our integrity in our dealings with others.

One who claims he has one G‑d, but cheats his fellow, has in fact two gods. One who claims he is godless, but believes in a fixed and immutable moral law is in fact a believer. Ultimately, G‑d is in your life when you act G‑dly—consistently following His ways in all you do. That is why He has given us His Torah, so that by following these instructions, we can bond with Him in our daily lives.

G‑d is not an idea that can be grasped with the mind. G‑d is real, and reality is grasped by real deeds.