Animals never have to answer this question, children accept simplistic answers to this question, only adults that are blessed or cursed with curiosity must answer this question.
Many adults live their whole lives without reaching a point where they ask the question, so they never have to answer it. Others have been fortunate enough to decide as children their philosophy of life, and they never question their philosophy.
For those of us that have not been among the fortunate, I voice my version of the question, and leave the answer to those of you who ask the question for yourselves.
The question is and it is the ultimate question of life: What place does G-d have in your life? Now G-d is a word that means something different to each person who uses the word.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to a Jewish psychologist who insisted he was an atheist. Yet, he said, he went out into the woods and studied the Universe, and realized as he was looking up at the stars, how much of a speck of dust he was in the “Big Picture”. He became very humble. Still, this man was insisting that he didn’t believe in G-d. When I pointed out to him that his version of G-d was just the outside universe, he quickly accepted the fact that he did believe in G-d after all. Just a different version of what he had been taught as a child.
Another Jewish colleague, a physician, also insisted he did not believe in G-d. His version of spirituality was the power of self, the strength that he had in himself for taking care of his patients. After our discussion he had to admit he did believe in an all-mighty power, it was just himself instead of our Orthodox concept. His was a more limited concept of the fact we believe in a G-d that is one including ourselves.
An agnostic, the joke goes, is just an atheist who has gone soft. Every successful person that I have met and worked with in my life has developed a philosophy of faith in something. In order to be a functional human being, one must have faith in something.
This faith may be subconscious, or conscious. Children have it subconsciously, those who have not yet asked the question have it subconsciously, and those of us that want to seek the truth must both ask the question and then try to answer it consciously. Without answering the question, one does not how to act as to even the simplest decisions in life. This, then, is why it is the question that must be answered.
For a long time, after I studied evolution in my secular education, I thought it eliminated the possibility of an almighty power in my life. After studying alternative versions of belief in G-d other than what I was taught as a child, I have learned to see that evolution is a theory no more ridiculous or truthful that a belief that this whole large physical universe could exist without a master plan for it.
If one does walk out in the woods as my psychologist friend does, and observe the size of the universe, and the mysteries of natures and laws within it, then it is extremely difficult to believe that a world like ours could function without a maker. Just because we do not what the natural laws do not deny their existence. When Newton discovered gravity for the first time, he did not invent it. Gravity was always there. Similarly, every day scientists discover other natural laws, from the way our minds work, to the way diseases are transferred. This tells us how to survive more intelligibly in an orderly world.
Once you work on the Question that must be answered, you can answer this question
We are in historic times. I learned this morning that the US has shut down travel to Europe. It can’t be long until the food chain and all the supply system that has taken 100 years to mature will be affected. The effects on business around the world will take a year to recuperate once the bleeding stops. In the meantime, you have good reason to work on your faith above as I have said, because we have two choices. Faith or Hysteria.
Love Yehuda Lave.
Now a little humor, because we need it!
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Nathan works for the Post Office and his job is to process mail that has been posted with incomplete or illegible addresses. One day, Nathan comes across a letter addressed in shaky handwriting to Hashem with no actual address on the envelope. So Nathan opens the envelope and reads the letter inside:
Shalom. I’m a widow of 79 and all I have to live on is a small pension. Unfortunately, someone stole my purse yesterday with $110 inside and this was all the money I had left until my next pension payment. As you know, Yom Kippur is approaching, and I have some friends coming over for a break the fast dinner. Without money, I can’t buy any food or drink. I don’t even have any family to help me out. You, dear God, are my only hope. Please can you help me?
Nathan is very touched and shows the letter to all his work colleagues. When they read it, each one generously gives Nathan a few dollars to donate to Sadie. Very soon, his collection reaches $100 and the Post Office workers feel very proud (and so they should) to have been able to help an old lady in distress. Nathan puts the money carefully in an empty envelope together with a short anonymous note:
Here is some money to make up for the stolen money. Enjoy!
He then addresses it to Sadie and posts it.
Soon after Yom Kippur ended, Nathan comes across another letter addressed to Hashem. So he opens it. It reads:
Shalom. How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to put together a lovely meal for my friends. I told them of your wonderful gift and we had a super day thanks to you. By the way, there was $10 missing from the envelope – I only received $100. I think it might have been those shnorrers at the Post Office.