Connecting with God
I cannot feel God in my heart. Sometimes the atheists seem logical and that scares me. Please help me connect with the Almighty.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
To connect with God, there are two aspects: Your head and your heart. Both need to be operating in tandem for the right connection to occur.
From the intellectual standpoint, there are many rational "proofs" of God's existence. For this I recommend an excellent book called "Permission to Believe" by Lawrence Keleman (feldheim.com). It contains straight-forward arguments for the existence of God, and includes a section on Torah and Science.
You would also benefit from attending a Discovery seminar. It's an excellent presentation of God's ongoing interconnectedness with Jewish history and philosophy. Discovery is given in hundreds of cities throughout the world; a current schedule is at http://www.aish.com/dis/
But what about the emotional aspect of connecting with God?
Deuteronomy 4:39 says: "You shall KNOW this day, and understand it well in your HEART, that the Almighty is God, in the heaven above and the earth below, there is none other." (This verse also appears in the prayer, "Aleynu.")
This tells us that it is not enough to simply know God in your head, you must also understand it in your heart. In a sense, emotional knowledge is much more profound than intellectual knowledge, because this knowledge can infuse every moment with an awareness of God.
If you want to build a relationship with God, you need a proper framework. Friday evening is a good time to reduce the outside static and get in touch with your inner self. Don't watch any TV or listen to the radio. (And if you're really bold, unplug the phone.) You could invite some friends over, prepare a nice meal, light the Shabbat candles, and enjoy the solitude.
Any relationship is built on communication, and communication has to come from the heart. God yearns to give us the pleasure of connection. The Talmud says that God made Sarah, Rivka and Rachel barren, so that they would turn to Him in prayer. You can pray in any language. Aloud.
To help you start, here's an opening line:
Give me the courage to let go,
And let you in.
I know you love me.
And with your help,
I will find all the purpose, joy, and happiness
You want me to have.
I hope this helps. Please stay in touch and let us know how things develop.