My last post was filled with doubt… and questions… and concerns. I was frustrated and confused and feeling lost. And yet I love my last post… and here is why.
Second, it allows you the reader to walk alongside me. To express your own questions and doubts, or to enlighten me with some thing or idea I might have missed.
Third, it has taught me that a healthy skepticism is not only good, but essential… and if handled in the right way, with thoughtful examination, exploration and education, it can lead to a much truer, deeper and more meaningful relationship with Hashem and Judaism.
Fourth, there is immense power in sitting with doubt… pondering and meditating on your questions… literally meditating… letting the answers come to you… or not… And accepting that there are things you don’t know, and being okay with it.
I did a great workshop this weekend where we embraced that and declared “I don’t know… and I LOVE that I don’t know.”
So thank you, Hashem for my doubt and my questions and my concerns. It forced me to work harder and dig deeper, and I feel more connected to you than ever before! But I suppose that was idea all along, huh?
I was extremely bothered by the supposed lack of evidence that the Jews were in Egypt in such large numbers as the Torah says we were… and the lack of evidence that such a large number left at the time when the Torah says they did… and how the “timeline” was off and perhaps not accurate.
Scholars, including Jewish ones, asked where were the plates… the pots and remnants and archaeological finds?
So I asked, too.. I had questions and I wanted answers…
To quote the brilliant Indigo Girls:
“I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.”
Asking out loud… questioning… doubting… writing my last post before I had more information and answers was vital to showing the process many of us take… or at least the process I am taking and the journey I am on.
My partner in this blog, Ben asked me if I was having doubts and whether or not these questions were about me losing my faith in Hashem.
Not at all. I love Hashem more than ever… I feel more connected than ever.
He asked if I believe that Hashem is an active part of my life…
I suppose I already did, but since going to Israel in November 2014, my belief has soared, along with my study and practice and desire to learn more.
Ben directed me to a great video called Exodus Decoded… which can also be watched on Amazon Prime. And he introduced me to a friend of his, Justin. I have yet to meet with Justin, but will fill you in when I do.
Ben also sent me a fantastic Passover lecture by Rabbi Yitz Jacobs on the history of the Exodus and the “New Chronology.” (Check it out on Wikipedia). Yitz is great and was my teacher for the Aish Discovery Class!
Learning is essential to me. I definitely want to know as much as I can… always… and about as many things as I can cram into my brain. I want and need to gather as much information as I can get… and I do challenge myself. And when others challenge me, I want to be ready to have a calm, articulate and intelligent debate.
Even Rabbi Noah Weinberg tells us that we must have a healthy skepticism… thus the questions I had after “Googling” the historical evidence of the Exodus.
Did it send me off my path? No.
Did it trouble me? Yes… Yes, it did.
As I said in my last post, we have so much physical evidence of other major Jewish events and history, how could there be none for this… perhaps the MOST important and major event in our history?
According to the video, the timeline historians have been using may very well be off… and it may, in fact, be a completely different Pharaoh we are talking about.
With that said, we can all find things to support our own beliefs… on both sides of any discussion or belief.
I strive to be as open and objective as I can… but we all know that it gets tricky… or can get tricky… with our beliefs.
Ben said something very wise… We need to reflect on how we know that something is true. When we have clarity on that, then the rest is just expanded.
I have been studying the Tanya each week, but because my question was really bothering me, last week’s class became a focus on that… an opportunity to really delve in and get clarity.
It was awesome… empowering. Rabbi Avi Rabin showed us this great Gerald Schroeder video. We discussed a friend of mine who loves to quote Christopher Hitchens, and argue against all religions… and while I will never change his mind, I can at least stay in the conversation. Here is another good read on that.
The point is this… my doubt… my concerns… my questions… all lead me to the discussion with and introduction from Ben, an amazing hour with Avi… those videos and articles… and a deeper connection with Hashem.
Love the doubt… embrace it… and let it take you deeper… and NEVER be afraid to ask the questions.