Disillusioned

Dear Rabbi Rami,

I’m a sixty–something Reform Jew whose faith is crumbling. I don’t believe Torah is the word of God, or that mitzvot are divine obligations. The more I delve into this the more disillusioned I become. How do you handle this?

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Mazal tov! How wonderful to become dis–illusioned! Illusion is a misreading of reality that happens when a magician (priest, guru, rabbi, pastor, politician, marketer, etc.) distracts you from reality. Seeing through illusion—becoming dis–illusioned—allows you to engage reality as it is rather than how the magician wants you to think it is.

For me that means learning how to live rightly in a world that is nondual and nonzero: a world where everything is connected with everything else, where “us or them” gives way to “us and them,” and where “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), and “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others” (Rabbi Hillel cited in Talmud, Shabbat 31a) are the foundational ethical principles. I find Judaism to as the most effective way to live in this regard.

Seeing through the illusion of divine and rabbinic authority allows me to shape Judaism to my own understanding. I accept no authority other than my own mind, and in so doing I am true to the original revolution of Reform Judaism.

So here is what I suggest: 1) continue on the path of dis-illusion, 2) be as clear as you can about what is real, 3) draw upon the wisdom and practices of Judaism to engage that reality justly and with compassion, and 4) make your Judaism as playful, engaging, and meaningful as you can.

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