web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Finding Emunah

Respler-031513-Emunah

Dear Dr. Yael:

I recently concluded that I don’t believe in G-d.

One day, while davening with kavanah for yiras Shamayim, I found material flaws in my reasons for believing in G-d and Judaism. I have felt this way for pretty much my whole life, with much introspection and debate. Finally, in one instant, my entire belief system fell away.

Over the following few weeks, I remained hopeful that I could undo this break in emunah. But the more I read and learned, the more skeptical I became. Though I am open to the possibility that G-d exists and that Judaism is true, I consider both to be unlikely.

I seek your advice because with an amazing marriage and three beautiful children, my next move will impact all of us.

Right now, I am doing nothing about this. I am telling no one. I am continuing to practice a frum lifestyle. I don’t particularly mind observing halacha and definitely don’t want to lose my family. As healthy as my marriage is and as much as my wife loves me, she is probably more committed to building a bayis ne’eman than she is committed to me. Were I to divulge my secret, she would probably divorce me. And even if she couldn’t bear to divorce me, she would probably distrust and resent me – to the detriment of our family.

There are definitely negatives to this approach. I hate keeping a secret, especially one so significant, from my best friend with whom I share everything.

Also, to protect my wife from the pain of our children going off the derech, I join her in educating our children about Yiddishkeit as a definite truth and not as a possibility. However, I feel that this approach to religious education, heavily influences children through “status quo bias” and makes disbelief extremely inconvenient since it would be alienating and would hurt loved ones.

I am uneasy about prejudicing their decision-making regarding such an important topic, which may prove to be the house of cards upon which they’ve built their lives. When it comes to other major decisions, such as choosing a spouse or a career, I will encourage them to be as open-minded and investigative as possible. But I will not do so for the arguably more important decision of what to believe in and how to lead their lives.

Can you draw on your experience to help me understand the merits and risks of my decision?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

You seem to be a very sensitive and caring person, able to conduct a loving marriage. It must be very difficult for you to live your life in a way that you feel is not based on the truth. While you are doing the right thing now, namely ignoring these powerful feelings in order to keep your family together, it is imperative that you speak with rabbanim who specialize in these issues.

There are many ways to explain and understand the Torah, along with many proofs that Judaism and its history are based on truths. By continuing to ignore these powerful feelings, you will begin to resent your way of living and possibly, chas v’shalom, your beautiful family. There are programs geared toward helping people strengthen their emunah and bitachon; these programs explain how the Torah is genuine. Perhaps you can join one of them or listen to shiurim that may help you in this realm.Respler-031513-Tashlich

If, for whatever reason, you are committed to keeping mitzvos and remaining a Torah-observant Jew (even if right now the reason is not due to personal emunah and bitachon), you will continue to strengthen your relationship with Hashem.

That being said, it is important for you to think about what has transpired and its effect on your relationship with Him. Further, how is your relationship with your parents? People who have difficult relationships with their parents may often struggle with their relationship with Hashem. And since you have a self-described amazing marriage with a woman committed to Torah u’mitzvos, what makes you think that your wife would divorce you if she was aware of your feelings vis-à-vis Hashem and Judaism? Is something else going on in your relationship that makes you believe that your wife – without seeking joint help – would make such a monumental life decision and divorce you?

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Finding Emunah

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.
Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

Schonfeld-logo1

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

The new group will also deliver kosher food to Jewish residents in non-kosher facilities, as well as to kosher facilities where the food is not up to par.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-091214

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

Respler-090514

I recently met a wonderful woman who writes poetry. With her permission, I am sharing a poem she wrote about time.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

Upon hearing that he did, the owner sent him the atarah – all shiny and new – to be returned to me. I was reunited with my father’s precious gift.

A prominent shadchan recently articulated a dilemma she’s facing.

The real solution to bullying is to empower the bullied child.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/finding-emunah/2013/03/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: