In our tradition, do we see G‑d as our "Father" who loves and cares for us individually? In prayer, would we ever address G‑d as "Father?" I have a friend who insists we do not, that our G‑d is far removed from us. Can you help?


The Torah is replete with instances where G‑d calls us His "children," from the first time G‑d sent Moses to Pharaoh: "And you shall say to Pharaoh, thus says G‑d, Israel is My son, My firstborn…"1 to the statement "You are children of the L-rd your G‑d,"2 to the second Psalm, where King David states "He (G‑d) told me 'You are My son, I have begotten you this day,'" and many more such instances

In the amidah which is recited three times a day we say "Cause us to return, our Father, to Your Torah…. Pardon us, our Father, for we have sinned… Merciful Father, have compassion upon us…Bless us our Father, all of us as one…" One of the most beautiful prayers that we have, which we recite every fast day, on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and on the days in between these holidays is a series of sentences each beginning with the words Avinu Malkeinu – literally "Our Father, our King."

Actually, one of the most fundamental principles of Judaism is that although G‑d is infinite and perfect, beyond any human comprehension, nevertheless He chooses to be close to us. He cares what we do, and waits for us to interact with Him through the performances of the mitzvot that He gave us. This principle is stated in the Ashrei prayer (actually, Psalm 145) that is recited at least three times a day: "G‑d is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth."

A famous rabbi was once asked "Where is G‑d?" He answered "Wherever he is invited in." G‑d is our Father, He loves us and is close to us – and we can access this closeness when we try to be close to Him.

For a mystical understanding of our father/son relationship with G‑d, see the second chapter of Tanya.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg,