Jewish Link – Devotion is one of the most misunderstood topics in the world and yet one of the most important to practitioners of any religion. At the same time, it is one of the most rejected causes for those who are not devoted to any faith, the reason for this is that it is associated with certain emotional perversions, or harmful concepts that doctrines sometimes promote, such as unnecessary guilt or forced sacrifice. socially and not chosen. However, devotion really does not have to have those harmful meanings that we have socially assigned to it, because in essence devotion represents the spiritual work that we do daily and the relationship that we cultivate with that Being that we consider superior to us, whether we call it God, Brahma or Universe. In either case it should be a highly personal act of love and encounter. The following ideas are taken from Jewish philosophy and talk about devotion, and certain guidelines on how to build a healthy relationship with G-d. They have brought a lot of happiness to my life and are a sample of the plurality of Jewish thought. We hope you like them.
The relationship with G-d should bring happiness to our life
One of my favorite ideas about devotion is that one cannot perceive the “Divine Presence through sadness.” We learn this with the commentators and with Musar’s books that explain it to us, especially based on the passages that Jacobo hears about the death of Yosef and loses the prophecy as a result of his sadness. What I find beautiful about this idea is the way it is treated by Jewish commentators and philosophers: they tell us that part of devotion is joy. In other words, the relationship with G-d must bring happiness and joy to our lives, if it is not bringing joy, if it does not generate happiness, it is not with G-d that we are relating, we are not carrying out the mitzvot correctly and we are not listening to the teachings that the Torah transmits. Actually we are not actually having a relationship, we are probably canceling each other.
We know G-d through the created world
The most tangible reality that we have as human beings is matter, being beings made up of molecules and atoms, everything we know or think has a material character, if it did not have it, we would not be able to perceive it. The access we have to G-d is through the created world and therefore our relationship with G-d cannot be separated from the reality that surrounds us; loving G-d and cultivating a relationship with G-d also implies knowing the world and celebrating its existence, celebrating our existence in it. In other words, devotion should help us enjoy the world and material reality, not lead us to fight with it.
G-d is in man
There are two statements in the Torah that are extremely important, both are about the creation of man. The first tells us that (Adam), the man, was created “Tzelem Elokim” in the image of God; the second that when man was created G-d blew a breath of life about him. Both refer to the sacredness of man in the world; they point to man as a reflection of God, that is, as an image of divinity. I find it beautiful because they teach us to look for G-d in ourselves and in the relationships we establish. The Jewish perspective of spiritual work (devotion) continually points out the importance of refining our character, of attending to our interpersonal relationships, paying close attention to feelings, actions and the ways in which we relate to others. Because G-d is in both.
“Tzelem Elokim” refers to the fact that man has the essence of God within himself, it is generally used to talk about the fact that all men have value just because they are human beings and one is obliged to respect that condition; one is forced to dominate his passions to give room to his neighbor. The second, the breath of G-d that is blown to give life to man is generally read as we have part of G-d within us, by which we know G-d living. Devotion implies cultivating a relationship with us, developing our personality, knowing ourselves, accepting ourselves, living.
The relationship with G-d is by particular and individual need
One of the things I love about the dynamic that exists in accepting both Written and Oral Torah is that it opens up for interpretation and discussion. There has always been a lot of freedom of philosophical exploration in Judaism, one of the reasons why the interpretation of Torah texts has been so plural throughout history is because of the freedom that is given: it is assumed that the Torah was revealed for each of us and as such brings lessons for our life. The individual and particular character of the interpretation is accepted, what one learns from the text occurs within the framework of his life and through his own lenses. In the same way, an individual relationship with G-d is fostered, a spirituality that arises from oneself.
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