Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crisis of faith

The High Holidays tend to throw me for a loop, faith-wise, as I've mentioned before. I end up feeling so disconnected and uninspired that I need to go to a bunch of regular services for a while, just to get back in the swing of things.

This year, however, I'm having some trouble getting back in the swing of things.

I've been thinking about Judaism, and how (at least in Conservative Judaism) the emphasis seems to be on "doing what you are supposed to do according to Jewish law" as opposed to feeling connected or inspired or uplifted. It's about doing, not feeling. Or as the saying goes, do first, and the feelings will follow. But right now: it's not working for me.

Right now, for whatever reason, I'm not satisfied with my religious experience. I don't want to just go through the motions. I want to feel something. Maybe this is part of my recovery from cancer. Or maybe it's something else.

I'm tired of the old, boring translations in the siddur. I'm tired of the fast, rote repetitions of prayers in minyan. I'm tired of being told what I should do, what I should feel, what I should believe.

Not sure what it's going to take to get me out of this religious funk. But I hope something gets me out of it soon.


Being Me said...

Sometimes saying the designated prayers can feel meaningless. I've been through that. Have you considered just talking to God in the usual way you would converse with a friend. Or just sitting and listening sometimes can bring a peace and then you will know that God is there.

RivkA with a capital A said...

OK, just wrote a really long comment on your Yom Kippur post....

I also am going through a difficult time right now.

I am dati-leumi (which you could translate as modern orthodox with a Zionist twist). This is the second year that I found myself in a funk around the high-holiday season.

I'm still waiting for it to pass and it's not happening so fast.

When I get bored with davening (which happens a lot on Yom Kippur) I just talk with God. I ignore the standard prayers, and just hold a dialogue. Yes, it's one sided, but I believe that God is listening.

I feel more connected when we are singing, especially if the melodies resonate with my childhood memories. I always feel more connected to God through song, rather than monotonous chanting.

Either way, whether singing or having a personal dialogue, I find that connecting with God does help me.

I don't understand why God gave me cancer, but I have faith that there are reasons and that God has a plan for me. It might not be easy, but I am just a thread in God's tapestry.

Myh goal, is to figure out how to take what God has given me and take it to a higher level.

Blogging has been a big part of that -- I see that I am helping other people cope with their cancer, or the cancer of a loved one.

I'd still give up cancer in a minute -- it totally sucks. But that is just not in my control.

But, if we are being totally honest, that is something I asked for on Yom Kippur. God can do anything -- I prayed for a miracle, for God to get rid of my cancer.

A kid can ask, right?

adena said...

thank you both - and to those who commented via email - I appreciate all your insights and suggestions! and Rivka - I agree - a kid can ask!

Yael said...

What about focusing on the parts of religion that take place in the home, rather than the synagogue.

Lighting candles, and making a big Friday night Shabbat dinner?

baking challah?
maybe even going to mikvah?

The synagogue is just one part of my Judaism experience, so I don't get so upset if it isn't often inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Welcome to my world. I'm just used to it but don't like it.