Making God personal

God. What is that? Or is It a who? Yes, capital “I” in “It” of course.

I’m teaching in a Hebrew school now. So every Sunday and Thursday I get to attempt to instill Torah ideas into these children.

The problem (OK, one of the problems) is that whenever I talk about God, I always feel like I’m not being totally honest. Who is this God of which I speak? When I say, for example, that He is merciful and forgiving (in regards to the High Holidays), what am I talking about? Do I know that?

Anyway, I guess that you can’t wait till you have all your questions answered in order to teach. Actually, I hope that the fact that I take these subjects so seriously on a personal level, will allow me to be a better teacher than if I didn’t really care exactly what I meant when I said, “God.”

To get back to the subject of this post, I read something that really touched me in the book, “Jewish with Feeling” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter. What I got from it was that we need to make God our own. We need to figure out what He is to us as individuals. One exercise he gave was to ask yourself, “What do I want/need God to be to me?” He says it could change and develop over time.
I asked myself that question a few months ago and got a very clear answer, “A loving mentor”. I want Him to be loving and to guide me.

BTW, I (bravely) did this exercise with my students (aged approximately 10-11) and they came up with some really nice things. Well, except for the kid who was like, “I have NO idea what to write!” :)

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