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“God,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

September 16, 2022 | 20 Elul 5782

Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way towards Shabbat.  You can listen to it as a podcast here.

The High Holy Days are approaching and filled with references to God. The liturgy assumes God’s presence but for so many of us, the language can be troubling. Each year, I remind myself what I do and do not believe about God. It draws me closer as I prepare for these holy days. I invite you into my process and thoughts as a way to encourage you to write what you believe and don’t believe about God. If you are willing, share them with me. Perhaps, we can create a group to explore God together.

Here’s what I don’t believe about God:

  • Man or male
  • Beard
  • King
  • Has body parts
  • Punishes
  • Rewards
  • Akin to Santa Claus who knows when I am asleep and knows when I’m awake — that’s creepy
  • Has an army
  • Speaks with the same words as humans do
  • That God is exiled from my theology.

Here’s what I do believe about God:

  • Any words for God are placeholders for that which cannot be expressed in words
  • God is like love that can be felt and experienced but has no physical entity
  • I prefer words like Force, Presence, Energy, Power, Sacred, Divine
  • A Connection to that which is more than I am — much more than I am
  • God existed before me, during me, and will eternally after my body is no longer on this earth.
  • The holiness of our souls has a sacred relationship with the Divine
  • God moves through us, with us, and because of us
  • God is a source of strength for me
  • I am humbled by the presence of God

This is the God, the Force/Presence/Power/Energy/Sacred and Divine, who helps to give meaning to my life.

Shabbat Shalom!

(originally shared September 4, 2020)

I truly value hearing your thoughts and reflections. Connect with me here.

  • If you are in town, come join us for Qabbalat Shabbat in the Garden with plenty of singing, learning, praying, thinking, and some treats to eat and drink. If you’re unable to join onsite, please join on Zoom, on Facebook, or stream on our website. Let’s celebrate together.
  • Tot Rock Shabbat gathers online at 5:00 p.m.
  • A delightful Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. We begin with a short service and Torah reading and then jump into a provocative discussion. To join the conversation interactively, access Zoom. You can also watch on Temple Israel’s website or Facebook page.
  • Join us onsite or online for S’lichot. The onsite social gathering will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtyard. A mixed presence Spiritual Practice Lab will be held at 7:30 (Join on Zoom here). And our candle lit service will begin at 9:00 p.m. (Join the online service here
  • Gather online for Havdalah at 8:00 p.m. Our weekly Havdalah ritual is a lay-led experience. Stop by, say hello, catch up from the week, and say goodbye to Shabbat together. Join on Zoom.

Rabbi Elaine Zecher