6 Mitzvahs, 7 Weeks
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Video: "I Am Real" Charlie Harary on The Six Constant Mitzvos

I Am Real

Living with God is NOT just having an idea or a belief that He exists. It’s having a relationship with Him.

How do you have a relationship with G-d?

There are two basic building blocks to any healthy relationship:

First: You need two parties – it sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

If you’re sitting around one day and your friend says, “I have a wonderful girl for you, she’s exactly what you’re looking for and she’s interested in you.” No matter how great it sounds, it’s not a relationship until you actually meet and find out for yourself.

Second: Free choice. Both parties need to freely choose each other. Forcing somebody to be with you isn’t much of a relationship. Two people choosing to be together is the paradigm of a great relationship.

We have a problem. Since G-d is not physical, we can’t sense Him. How do we have a relationship if we don’t know He exists? Is He here? Is He in the sky? Does He hear me? For us to develop a relationship with God we need to know (not just believe) He is real.

But… The more He reveals Himself, or proves He exists, the less choice we have to be with Him. Should He ever say, “Hello,” at breakfast one morning, we’d be so awestruck by His presence that we would be incapable of choosing not to have a relationship with Him.

But should He not reveal Himself, then we won’t know He is real. Fulfilling one pre-requisite kills the other. What does He do? He walks the fine line of proven existence and free choice. How? Let’s start at the beginning.

The first chapter of Jewish history is quite strange. Jews were slaves in Egypt. God instructed Moshe to ask Pharaoh for permission to take the Jews out of Egypt.

That doesn’t make any sense - God wanted to start a nation and needed Pharaoh, who He created, to give Him permission? He is God! He could have told Moses that at 9 A.M. Tuesday morning it’s going to get dark, gather the people and leave. The Jews could have been eating falafel in Jerusalem before the lights went back on in Egypt. Why the back and forth with Pharaoh?

Egypt wasn’t just a country. It was the epicenter of civilization. Exodus wasn’t just to get the Jews out; it was a platform for God to reveal Himself to the world. And 10 plagues later even Pharaoh knew God existed. And it got better. Days after leaving Egypt, He split a sea.

Then, to “seal the deal” a few weeks later, God revealed himself to a nation of two million people. Not to an elite few. Not to Moses on a mountain. To everyone.

At that moment, God wasn’t theoretical. He wasn’t an idea or an image. He was real. The relationship had begun.

To make sure the Exodus experience is never forgotten, God created a mechanism for us to remember it. Each year, at the Passover Seder, we recall the event and share it with our children. So at the Seder, millions of parents pass down the same story that they received from their parents, who received from their parents, all the way back to the event itself.

The first principal of God awareness is based on the source “Anochi Hashem Elokeicha Asher Hotzeitcha M’eretz Mitzrayim” – “I Am Hashem, Your G-d, Who took you out of Egypt.”

God is saying, I am real.

But, we can do more than just look to a specific event to find G-d.

Look at Jewish history: Mark Twain famously asked: What is the secret of the Jews’ immortality? We should ask the same question: How did Jews survive and thrive through generations of exile and persecution?

Look at nature: We are begged to look beyond the “how” and ask why? I know how my body works, but why does it work so wondrously? Why are all the millions of parts so in sync? Could it all be by chance? I know how the world works, but why? Why does each aspect seem to fit perfectly into the larger design and should anything alter even slightly, we would be doomed.

Nature is a great tool for God since it allows us to lose focus on the terminology of how or choose to recognize the awesomeness of why. That’s part of G-d’s plan – to give us the choice to find Him, should we want to. To see Him in Exodus, in history, in nature, everywhere. Or, not to.

The first mitzvah is to know G-d is real and choose to have a relationship with Him. 

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