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Weekly excerpt to help us remember the sacred.
Weekly Reading Aug 1, 2022

Faith Is Different Than Beliefs

–Reb Zalman

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2573.jpgWhere there is faith, there are fewer beliefs. We use beliefs to shore up opinions, rather than a relationship with the cosmos. Faith is what we call the relationship with the cosmos. It’s different than beliefs.

Beliefs would be sort of the candy that comes in a candy wrapper, out of faith. But faith is the function, the deep deep function. So when you use the word faith as a noun, it doesn’t work. “I should have faith.” You know, I should go to the grocery store and see if I can buy some faith. It doesn’t go that way.

So what is faith? Faith is “faith-ing.” It’s a verb. It’s an activity. It’s a function. And the function goes like this: “I open myself up to the central intelligence of the universe, so that I might live for the purpose for which I was made.”

And when I can come with that attitude, which is the attitude that seeks to be in truth, which seeks to be able to say: what does surrender mean? Surrender means, I’m letting go of how I would like the world to be, and I’m asking the universe, "How do you want me to understand you?”

The beliefs are always going to get us into trouble! (laughs) I remember the bumper sticker that said, “Don’t believe everything you think!” In a way it’s saying, your mind and your usual way [don’t] have it together.

My experiences with fundamentalists that have been good experiences have happened when I’ve said to those brothers, (sisters weren’t much among them), I said to them: “Let’s not talk about the difference between the church in Jerusalem, and the church in Greece and in Rome, and about the Jews of that time, [etc.]. Let’s talk about today.”

You love God; I love God. [So for example,] do you think the book of Psalms is a good book to study? And then we sit down and we study the book of Psalms together. They can take any translation they want and I go back to the original Hebrew. And the thing is getting to be so good, because they have a ta’am (taste), they have a feeling: this is the word of God.

When you get to the place where you study [a sacred text] in such a way, you become a lot softer. Because then those holy words are not slogans.

How do you relate to the difference between faith and belief? Can you share a personal story of a time you got a taste of the sacred? What helps you want to study over being sure of what you know?

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