Dear Friends,

Our Jewish story begins with Abraham, but also includes Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel, Leah, Joseph, and Moses.  The Torah related that each of these personalities faced their own struggles and challenges. Whether it was Abraham who was so severely tested by God regarding the depth of his values and ideals, or Rebecca who faced the anguish of being childless, or Jacob who envisioned a ladder representing his capacity to grow and arise from a deceiver to a worthy patriarch, or Joseph who struggled to overcome his self-centeredness.

Yes, each of these personalities wrestled within themselves and wrestled with a God who could not be known or understood. Only to know that the name Israel literally means “to wrestle or struggle with God.”
And so that challenge persists until this day, and no doubt for most of us. We too struggle with a God who is characterized in our holy books as all-powerful, and all-knowing and just and loving. We struggle as we question “why the evil?” “How could God permit such suffering?” “Does God really exist at all?” Or as one of my young grandchildren asked: “Does God pretend to be God?”
 
But then we behold the wonders of life and of our world:  the birth of a baby, the vastness of our universe, seemingly ordinary people who find a quality of greatness and courage within themselves. And yes, our capacity to become something more tomorrow than we are today. Yes, like our spiritual ancestors we too question and struggle as we realize that we are not given to know the answer. Perhaps only to realize, as Einstein expressed: “Either nothing is a miracle, or everything is a miracle.”

 

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg