Hey Rabbi, Do You Believe in God?

Hey Rabbi, Do You Believe in God?

by Rabbi Yoni Lavi

Sharon: Hey Rabbi, do you believe in God? πŸ€”
Rabbi Yoni Lavi: Hello, with whom do I have the honor?
S: I’m sorry for starting out of nowhere like that. I’m Sharon, I’m 16 years old and am a student at a religious high school. I’m thought of as a religious girl, but lots of times I have questions related to faith about the most basic things. I’m not sure about anything anymore…πŸ˜žπŸ˜•
R: What do you mean?
S: Look, sometimes I feel like the most religious girl in the world. My heart is connected deeply to God and my davening just flies, it’s unreal. But sometimes I feel this kind of fog😡 and all sorts of things make me doubt my faith. At those moments, I’m not sure of anything at all.
R: There is no religious person who isn’t familiar with that feeling of fog and confusion. That’s part of life and there’s no reason to get upset about it. At those moments of fog and uncertainty, you need to grab hold of your anchors. To the stable things that strengthen our faith and trust, and lean on them.
S: But what can I do if I’m not sure I have anything or Anybody to lean on at all? Rabbi, would it be possible for you to give me some quick tips that would calm me down a little bit and help make some order in my confused brain?☹️
R: I can tell you a little about my personal experience, where I experience faith in God on the simplest level in my daily life. It happens to me, for example, sometimes through life itself. When I notice God’s fingerprints on my life. How He leads and directs me along the way, and how things that initially seemed bad and incomprehensible suddenly turn out to be for the best. And the curtain is lifted and I get that everything was right on target.
But you know, Sharon, there is something even simpler. It happens every morning the second that I open my eyes and see the world around me.
S: Whaaat? I also open my eyes every morning, and except for the irritating ring of the alarm clock and Eema threatening that if I don’t get up this second I’ll miss my ride to school, I don’t see anything special.
R. I’ll explain. Every place we look we see a wondrous, complicated world made up of millions of complex intertwined systems. Our most basic intuition screams right away that behind all this order must be someone making order and behind all this complexity stands whoever put it all together–an intelligent, omnipotent Creator Who created all of it for a certain goal.
Let me tell you a story. On July 20, 1969, something revolutionary happened in the history of humankind. The American space ship Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong pronounced the famous sentence: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Imagine, Sharon, what would have happened if the moment Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface he noticed the spark of a shiny object. And he bent over to pick it up and realized that it was a…fork.
S: He would have contacted Mission Control and announced to them: Ta Da Dum, a fork was discovered!
R: And that would be a sign that what?
S: That a Russian spaceship got there before them, and left a souvenir from their lunch…Or maybe some cute Martians with table manners were there, hahaha
R: And what would you say if somebody claimed that this utensil was created on its own? It was just a lump of metal that over time took on the shape of a fork.
S: That doesn’t make sense at all, but actually, rabbi, who knows? There’s a one in a million chance that it happened on its own and no intelligent creature was there do it…
R. OK, so let’s continue further. Suppose he didn’t find a fork but rather a world made up of millions of incredible creations each of which contains thousands of sophisticated and complicated systems. The human eye, the immune system, the nervous system, the brain, digestion, the DNA code–each of these is far more sophisticated than any machine that exists. Is it possible to say that all of this just “happened”? Just like that, on its own, even over a long period of time? Does that sound logical to you?
S: Not at all.
R: There is, of course, a great deal more to learn and clarify–why did God create this world? What does He want from us? How can we connect to Him? But we’ll leave those questions for another time…

This is an excerpt from the newly-released bestseller “Hi Rabbi: Conversations about Life” by Rabbi Yoni Lavi (Hebrew). I’ve been reading “Hi Rabbi” this week, and I’m totally hooked! It’s a collection of real-life WhatsApp conversations Rabbi Lavi’s had with Israeli teenagers and young adults about God, Judaism, dating, and lots of other topics. It’s true, the target audience is my teenagers and not me. And I promise I’ll let them read it…(as soon as I’m done with itπŸ˜‰).

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