Connecting to Spiritual Roots

By Jonathan Rosenberg, Guest Contributor

I am Jewish.  Though I dutifully went to temple on a weekly basis until age 15, I’ve always felt much more connected to my spiritual roots than to my religious ones. 

Ancient writings coming from the likes the Torah never connected with me. In fact, in my lifetime of now-70 years, I have been a congregant in Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues. Presently, I am a member of none. 

As a result, I charted my own path without referring back to any of the teachings I have been a part of.  And, as a result, I have made many missteps in my life.  From these, I have attempted to learn a simple fact and that is to learn from and honor those who “dug the well.” 

There are basic tenets that have been in existence for thousands of years like those in the Ten Commandments. To be so arrogant as to believe that “I” was smarter or wiser than God (or whoever you want to call him) has never served me well long-term. 

If you ever go to a Jewish service on Shabbat or one of the Jewish holidays, you’ll hear people chanting in Hebrew and Aramaic, standing, sitting, bowing and singing. Ask any one of those in attendance what they are doing and why they are doing it and you’ll get many different answers. I, myself, am relatively clueless and I believe I’m in the majority. We “do,” without the understanding of why. 

Can you relate?

I have taken classes, both online and in person, to attempt to understand but it doesn’t get through and it’s difficult to integrate into my life. Studying Kabbalah was the most meaningful experience and even that was difficult for me to understand. I don’t, however, beat myself up about it.  As a teacher, a therapist and now a playwright, I believe the old axiom that “when the student is ready, the master will appear.” 

Until I am “ready,” I look to living by the Ten Commandments. 

I have been humbled into submission and have never been happier.

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