Recently, I led a Jewish group that was seeking to increase their emunah — their faith. I brought in some readings about G-d for them. After we’d read and discussed what I’d brought, one person asked me — “What does this have to do with faith?”

It was an appropriate question, of course. I’d skipped a step — perhaps several.

If having, or increasing our faith is our goal — how do we go about it?

I was proceeding on the basis that it has to do with a change in our thinking — about G-d in particular. But I hadn’t made clear that I was using that approach, before commencing.

I’ve already written something about this topic in several places; in particular in my post “Contemplating Faith” (a link can be found in my Index). But I thought it worth making explicit again: one way (not the only way) to develop and increase our emunah is to learn what Judaism teaches us about G-d, and to apply it in our everyday lives.

For example, TaNaCh says, “The whole world is filled with [G-d’s] Glory.” [1] Are there signs of G-d’s Glory in my own life? Where? When? If I don’t think so — what do I make of the prophets’ and rabbis’ insistence that it’s so? If it is so, what change might it suggest about the way I see the world, myself, and the things that happen to me?

Judaism teaches us “G-d is Good.” [2] Do I believe it? Doubt it? What if it’s true? What might it change about the way I feel? How I react?  What do my reactions to disappointments tell me about my real feelings about G-d’s “Goodness”?

It’s a process that involves a change in our assumptions about the actual nature of the world in which we live. In the language of “Megillat Esther,” for example, it’s coming (however gradually) to see the “accidental” as the “provi-dential.”

Before Columbus took his trip, most people thought the world was flat. They might have argued back and forth about it, but no one really knew for sure. I’d bet that there were very intelligent, educated people who were certain that he’d fall off the edge of the earth. When he returned, they had to change their assumptions about the world, and about the possibilities it offered according to the new paradigm.

It’s the same with “faith.” The world looks very different when we believe that it’s filled with G-d’s Presence and Goodness. But we can take our “trip” on ideas instead of boats.

It can begin with our consideration of ideas about G-d, and the possibilities they might open up to us.


[1] Isa. 6:3

[2] In the Amidah, for example, we say “Ha-Tov Shim’chah” — “Your Name is (The) Good.”