I’ve been asked more times than I can count (recently), “Why did you decide to become religious?” Anybody who’s known me from a young age knows that I didn’t grow up in the world of the ultra-orthodox, and I haven’t always had such a strong sense of faith within my Judasim. My relationship with G-d wasn’t always on the greatest of terms. While there is a whole backstory to the series of events that spurred me to becoming a Lubavitch chossid, I wanted to write about the internal backstory and how it came to be.
Growing up, I always struggled with medical issues. There was never something that’s occurred for me that’s within the norm. At birth I was given a 2% chance of survival, and I beat those odds, and ever since the odds have never exactly been in my favor. For a long time, I was bitter at Hashem for my circumstances and had a “why me” mentality that wasn’t healthy. As I got older, matured, and saw G-d’s hand in so many situations I began to rebuild my faith. My spiritual growth was, in some ways, quick and in some ways slow.
I clung to my Judaism to keep me strong.
It takes time to come to a place in your relationship with anyone that you can let go and have complete trust in them, how much more so when it’s a relationship of blind faith—you just have to know that you’re giving your all to G-d and He’s giving His all to you.
This past year has been the most challenging in the last 22, and that says a lot. It’s made me do everything but question my faith and relationship with G-d. Not once (okay maybe once) have I felt a need to get angry at Him and shout “why me”, because I have this unexplainable idea that everything is for a reason. G-d is our Father in heaven, and just like any other parent He has our best interest at heart. While I may not understand why I am having to face what I am, I’m not bitter or resentful.
Faith is interesting like that though; I can’t change what’s happening, but I trust a being that that is omnipresent to know that it is all going to be okay.
Why did I become religious? It wasn’t just for the wine or cholent, I assure you. It was for this—being able to go through challenges in life with a level of certainty and ease. If nothing else in my life is going well, at least my faith is. I know that G-d has me in His care, and that is what ends up getting me through the day. Well… That and friends and coffee.
Being that we’ve reached the month of Elul, the month of the King being in the field and among His people, the month of, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine”, it makes me draw even closer in my connection and aim to continue this feeling of baseless love and trust.
Prayer is why I’m religious, the people and support is why I’m religious, the guidance from the Rebbe is why I’m religious, but above all else G-d is why I’m religious.
We should all try and live with baseless love and baseless faith.
(Throwing it back to this past February, when prayers were answered and we finally got a direction.)