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.


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.