Uncomfortable with God

Dear Reb Shohama, I feel so uncomfortable with the word God, yet I keep searching for a spiritual connection. The strange thing is that when I see a beautiful garden or even a beautiful flower, I find myself thinking “Thank you, God.” Does this make any sense to you? Thanks, Renee

Dear Renee,

Yes, it makes a great deal of sense to me. You probably were raised with a forbidding concept of God as a serious old King on a throne, and have not adequately explored Jewish theology as an adult.

Jewish tradition teaches that there are many faces of the Divine that G!d indirectly shows us. The natural world is the face that is most easily apparent. In fact, the great medieval sage Moses Maimonides, often called the Rambam, taught that to build a love for G!d we should study the workings of nature. Says the Rambam, “Now, what is the way that leads to the love of him and the reverence for him? When a person contemplates his great and wondrous acts and creations, obtaining from them a glimpse of his wisdom, which is beyond compare and infinite, he will promptly love and glorify him…” (Mishneh Torah, Ch. 2)

You have a keen appreciation for the beauty and wonder of gardens, and intuitively sense that where there is a garden there is a Gardener. There is a recent book by Rabbi Balfour Brickner that you may find speaks directly to your question. It is called “Finding God in the Garden: Reflections on Life, Love and Compost”.

Many blessings for your search,
Reb Shohama

BUY NOW: Seeking and Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Direction in honor of Rabbi Shohama Wiener