That is the most important statement I can make. I made a conscious decision when I was 14 years old in confirmation class at Brith Sholom. I asked Rabbi Mazur (Jacob) to prove to me that there was a G-d. He took the time to enter into a dialogue with a young girl and explain to me that nobody could incontrovertibly prove the existence of the Almighty and told me about Baruch Spinoza who also wanted absolute proof of the divine and could never be sure in his mind and for his voiced doubts he was excommunicated, a very rare occurrence in Judaism. He explained that to be believe a person had to make a conscious choice. At the age of 14 I decided that I would believe in G-d. My Jewish education consisted mainly of an excellent Sunday School program, an observant grandfather who lived with us. I had the assimilated father and mother who had come to the United States as a toddler and baby respectively. So we had a kosher and a trefe kitchen. Because my parents were culturally assimilated I did not grow up in a “typical" Jewish atmosphere. Judaism to me was religion and not culture. God to me was the infinite and man was the finite. No matter how brilliant man was or had the capability to be he was always finite.
I grew up in a family and atmosphere where “fair was just a desired concept.” WWII wasn’t fair. I learned the Crusades and the Pogroms were not fair. I knew also that I would never be 5:10”. But I also knew that the Torah, Talmud, etc. were brilliant beyond belief. I also felt a closeness to the Creator because when I truly reached I was able to attain the brass ring, reach above my highest achievement and accomplish more. I felt the divine spark. Everything else that has evolved in my life has basically stemmed from the fact that G-d is infinite and I, like all men, am finite. No matter how much I am grounded in what I see and perceive to be true I realize that in the next day, month or year there may be other “facts” that completely change my perception. There may be another Galileo to change what we know as real.
Add that to the Book of Job and although I cannot say that I think at this point that the Torah is literally written by G-d I cannot rule it out. Possibly the Torah was written by different people and redacted by another but who is to say that this was not God’s plan all along. Certainly the Torah is better literature for the different viewpoints. There is more human frailty and our lives seem much more livable compared to our ancestors that if we compared ourselves to nearly perfect life forms. As I have grown and aged my concept of the Almighty has changed. It is proportional to my education, comprehension and life experience. I compare it to the story of Purim. Purim is no longer a beauty contest, no longer the story of Mordecai’s victory over Haman. It is a much darker tale. Even though Esther predominated the Jews in Shusan still had to struggle for their existence. So we struggle.
In our Diaspora we have survived the Crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust and the always present Anti Semitism. We will always be an object of hate and ridicule as long as human nature predominates, but we still must persevere. (Aleinu). When asked how can I believe when God allows such evil I think to myself, God does answer. We just don’t like his response. We pray and expect to be rewarded as if we were still in the Garden of Eden. That fact is that we are not in the Garden of Eden. What makes this okay to me is that I don’t and can never know what is in the mind of the Almighty and I have made the same commitment to his judgement as I did to his existence.