On the third night of Hanukkah…
I am proud to belong to the people Israel, whose name means “one who wrestles with God and with man and prevails.” For though we have loved humanity, we have never stopped wrestling with it, challenging the idols of every age. And though we have loved God with an everlasting love, we have never stopped wrestling with Him nor He with us.
Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
I’ve been struggling each night writing these posts. Last year was easy; I focused on the people who I’m so very thankful for and why they mean so much to me. But this year’s posts have been slow to come and I’ve often found myself staring at the computer, wondering what to write, what themes I want to pursue, what insights to share. So tonight I have decided to focus on one of the reasons I love Judaism: the ability to question.
For the first ten years of my life, I went to church regularly and attended Christian Sunday School. I often had questions about God and Jesus, but the teachers either ignored me or told me “strengthen” my faith. It was a bit of a shock when I learned Judaism encourages questions and that I could even question the rabbi. I’m allowed to question my Judaism, to wonder if there are other explanations and I know that I can always challenge the rabbis when something doesn’t make sense. My personal Jewish faith has taken more than a few hits this year, but knowing that I’m allowed, and even expected, to “wrestle with God” has been a source of comfort.