Today began a new semester at Kadimah for my group “My Faith and My Mental Health.” This opportunity gave me a chance to explore new topics that we can discuss in the next 12 weeks. During the group, we discussed Rosh Hashana. In our discussion, one of the participants shared that they felt “not religious” because they were not excited about the upcoming holidays or the copious amounts of shul time. They continued by saying that their best prayers are done in solitude without the judgment or interference of others. Imagine you were in my shoes; someone just told you their connection to G-D or spirituality is worthless. How would you react to a question like this?
In this week’s double parsha, Nitzavim/Vayeilech, Moshe addressed the Jewish people as they were about to enter Eretz Yisrael. He emphasized the importance of the covenant between them and Hashem, highlighting that it is not beyond their reach or comprehension. As the posuk says, “He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear, and do not be dismayed."
I believe that one's relationship with Hashem, spirituality, or a higher power is unique to them. I do not believe people should be judged on their religious levels or how many religious activity boxes they checked off. On the contrary, I believe that truly religious people are the ones who really live with their relationship with Hashem. Whether it is at home, in a shul, or walking down the street, when a person can take the previously robotic behaviors and internalize them, that is when a real relationship can take place. I hope that in the coming weeks and throughout the course of this year, we can attain a real relationship, and through these relationships, we will see a drastic transformation in the world!
All the best!
Avroham Y Ross