created at: 2011-05-29The image to the left comes from youmademesayit.com. The image was chosen for its reference to the position of covering the eyes before saying the Shema, and also for its reference to the duality of faith – being willing to close your eyes and trust even while the world argues to keep your eyes open.

Ed. Note: This is the second in a series of ten posts in the days leading up to Shavuot. Each post explores one of the ten commandments. Today’s post is written by TBS Executive Director, Daniel Barkowitz. Please feel free to add your response to this post to the comments section below. How do you experience faith and doubt? What does the second commandment mean to you? How do you interpret the commandment to have no other g-ds before G-d?

Have no other G-d before me.

I believe that faith is a Decision.

Making the decision to believe in G-d when the world argues against such faith and commitment is itself a decision. If I make the decision to have faith, even in moments where having faith is hard, then the decision to have faith will bring me the intention I need to follow through.

Faith is a decision to live your life in such a way as to find meaning in it beyond the material things that the world says you must possess. It is a decision to believe that there is more to life than meets the eye, and that life extends even beyond death. It is a decision to be able to have a rock to hold onto even when all around you is chaos, even when people declare in the streets that all is hopeless, and that all is lost.

Faith is a decision means knowing that not all questions have to have answers, and that sometimes the answers will come without their corresponding questions. Making the decision to have faith does NOT mean removing all doubt; in fact by making the decision to have faith I embrace the doubt I feel as a genuine part of my spiritual self.

G-d demands that we have no other g-d before YHVH. I respond that making the decision to have faith means that I place my trust in that Miraculous Power.

-Daniel T. Barkowitz