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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Shield of Abraham


I’m supposed to believe in something I can’t see?

There was one big problem.

If all that stuff were true, how come I – the sophisticated product of the culmination of all civilization – was a total failure who couldn’t succeed at even the simplest things in life? I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t prevent myself from getting angry and alienating those I cared about. I was a slave.

I “knew” that God didn’t exist.

The problem was that I felt I also didn’t exist.

Something was terribly wrong.

Suddenly, I began to turn the whole question around. My eyes opened and I saw something I had never seen before. There was one unopened door in that long corridor. Why had I never noticed that door before? It was the door to God.

I had been sure that God did not exist. But now that my own life seemed to be falling apart, I began to wonder.

Maybe I had to turn the whole thing upside down. When I examined it, it was very logical. When I was honest about my life, I saw that I did not exist – my life was empty – and at that time I was sure that God did not exist.

But what if God did exist? Maybe then I could also exist. Maybe my existence depends on God.

Maybe there was a life I hadn’t even dreamed about. Maybe if God were really alive I could be alive. Maybe I had been looking at things “upside down” or “backwards” or “inside out.”

Why did my intelligence have to be the measuring rod of reality? Maybe I did not understand and God did understand. Did I have to comprehend something for it to be real? Was I the center of the universe?

Maybe there was a reality beyond my understanding.

I began to have this crazy thought. Could God exist? No, it’s crazy. CRAZY! All my life I had been raised on “reality.” No normal person believed in God.

And then I began to wonder if I had ever met any normal people.

They say there are no atheists in the foxhole. I was in a spiritual foxhole. I was fighting for my life in a “war to end all wars.” My entire civilization was falling apart. I felt the coldness of death and black nothingness where chaos reigns.

When you are drowning, you grab the life preserver. You don’t ask questions. I was drowning, and all of a sudden out of the sky came this life preserver. I grabbed it.

What choice did I have? I wanted to live!

God, do You exist? Could You exist?

Dawn was beginning to break as a new light began to glow inside me. All of a sudden, I started to have this incredible feeling of hope, a new idea that would enable me to live.

Do you think we survive on “bread”? No, we survive on ideas. Our life emanates from our soul and our soul emanates from God. “Some [trust] in chariots, some in horses but we [trust] in the name of God” (Psalm 20). This “crutch” that I had always rejected, the “opiate of the masses,” maybe this was the missing link.

As the sun rose, I picked up a pen and began to write. A volcano of thought and emotion exploded onto my paper. I began to reassess my entire life. All of a sudden I let God enter my soul and the sun came up.

Just thoughts – “intangible” thoughts – yet “man does not live by bread alone, rather by everything that emanates from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Words can also bring life. Here is another excerpt from the book, describing our first meeting with Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis:

This lady started to talk. She spoke so quietly, it was almost a whisper. All of a sudden, my insides were quivering. My soul – or whatever was in there – started shaking. My eyes were wet. Why was I crying? What’s going on here? What is she talking about?

“You are a Jew [she said]. You have created civilizations. You have given birth to every ideal that has shaped mankind: Justice, peace, love, the dignity of man, have all had their genesis in Your Torah. But, above all, you have been given the unique mission of proclaiming the Oneness of God.”

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


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