We know that God gave us a mind and emotions for a reason: so that they would be used. When the Bible says that humans are created in the form and image of God, it refers specifically to our faculty of being able to think independently and experience emotions in a way similar to God.
Only humans are aware of their thoughts and emotions. Only humans can control and direct our emotions through the thoughts we allow ourselves to think.
Although this is an incredible and distinctive element of our lives, our sages tell us to be wary of its power, for it may steer us in directions characterized by selfishness and ego. Even though a person makes every effort to be objective, the sum of his experiences will always limit his judgment, not always to his advantage.
The Talmud explains why we must first proclaim that God is One, and that He is the only force behind everything, with the Shema Yisrael prayer, before we can accept our love for God and fulfill his commandments.
Suppose a person bases his obedience and commitment only on his own conclusions — those dictated by his own logic and existing feelings — then tomorrow if a more convincing argument is presented to him or if he feels differently, there becomes every reason to reconsider prior commitments. Such commitment and love are tenuous at best.
When a person’s commitment to a relationship or agreement surpasses logic and personal feelings (i.e., he accepts beyond his own comprehension that God is infinite), God has all that is good and powerful and nothing bad or weak, and therefore even if one cannot entirely grasp this concept in his finite mind, he is committed to this principle of faith, and the faith becomes ironclad. This kind of declaration elevates and expands who we are to a level that is otherwise impossible to reach with the power of our own logic. This faith becomes a bond with the essence of God … a true superpower of a connection.
That is why what truly impressed God when he offered us the Torah was our response: “We will do, and then we will dedicate ourselves to understand.” This is why the Holy Day of Passover, the first of all the major Holy days, is represented by eating the flat and simple matzah with only two ingredients, as opposed to the dense and fluffy bread, rich with ingredients, that is eaten at other times.
The foundation of one’s worship of God must be humility, simplicity, faith, and obedience. There are no complications of the mind or heart, but simple whole-hearted faith. To children asking, “But why do I have to do this?” we reply, “Trust me, this is best for you.” We tell the child, it is impossible to comprehend matters that can only be understood with age and experience. For a soldier to succeed, he must be committed beyond his own comprehension and beyond his feelings at the moment.
Commitment takes us beyond where our limitations would otherwise keep us tethered. Commitment and obligation connect us and attach all we are to the one we are committed to. Then, we may create the conduit through which authentic Godliness flows in our lives.
Chapter 52 www.aspiritualsoulbook.com