Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


Family Is a Faith Issue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What is faith, any faith really about? Is it about philosophical debates? Is it nothing more than theological wrangling? Or could it be something much closer to home for most of us? Could it be about the big questions in our everyday lives, and the spiritual tools we need to address them?
My recent post, Proof of God’s Existence, drew an interesting response from regular reader and interesting commenter, Laura Mushkat, which got me thinking about this. Frustrated by what she perceived as a disconnect between my post’s title and the piece itself, which deals with a family tearing itself apart over a grandfather’s will, and her desire share her own theological musings about the ability to prove God’s existence, she writes:

ALRIGHTY THEN! Very clever headline for a mundane subject. Was all set to come here to write about why we should or should not require proof the good Lord exists. Instead we have a will and a family fight! OMG! (SARCASIM)

Well Laura, there is nothing mundane about a family that allows their father and grandfather’s legacy to destroy their family. Unless by mundane, you mean commonplace. In which case, I would sadly have to agree. These kinds of family fights occur everyday, and all too often, one or both sides invoke God or tradition to “prove” that they are correct. And it’s not that I am opposed to people believing that they are correct, or to believing that their interpretation of God’s will is correct. But how come we don’t see people invoking God that way to hold the family together, despite their disagreements about “what God wants”? Isn’t that kind of commitment to each other also a religious issue?


Family is a faith issue. And how we hold our families together, or let go of them when we must, is a real test of that faith. So when I write about proof of God’s existence, I am quite serious. Not because there is any empirical proof for either the existence of God, or the non-existence of God, but because how we treat each other makes the faith claims we make for either position credible….or not.
Yes, as you said in your comment, we have before us a family fight. And your cry of OMG should be offered, but without the sarcasm. After all, which would you rather have, a world with better conversations about the provability of God, or a world in which God’s existence was more credible because those who invoked His/Her name did so in ways that contributed to having happier and healthier families?
Your regular contributions to Windows and Doors prove that you know all this, but many others do not. We need to focus on that, and if you want to talk about proofs for the existence of God as well, I promise we can do that too….and sometime soon!



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LAURA MUSHKAT

posted August 31, 2008 at 12:42 pm


I meant COMMONPLACE! These are the same types who start out with paying the kids for everything from doing chores to good grades. Money becomes a way to get things done. I consider it lazy parrenting but it works for awhile!
I know people both Jewish and Non-Jewish who DO invoke G-d to keep family and friends together. We just know different folks!
By the way-I bet the grandfather thought he WAS helping to keep the family together because then they would have more in common. He may not have thought of it like that but it could have been somewhere in his head!
Hugs and prayers!
Laura



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rabbi brad

posted August 31, 2008 at 3:23 pm


great final point, laura! if more people, inlcuding yours truly, thought of each other that way and assumed such motivations about each others’ actions, we really could change the world. it’s what the rabbinic notion of dan l’kaf zkhut (a kind of high level benefit of the doubt practice) is all about.
thank you for teaching it so elegantly and so smarty!! we are all in your debt.



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