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Is it true that in Judaism one can pray without believing? Does belief follow practice?

by Rabbi Shlomie Chein

  

Library » Mitzvot » Prayer » I'd love to pray, but... | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Judaism is like nutrition, it is good for you whether or not you understand how or why.

One should therefore "do" even if they don't as of yet understand or believe.1

This is all the more true when the subject in question is belief. Belief in G-d is an inherent part of the Jewish genome. It is a built in gift of the Jewish soul, which we inherited from our forefather Abraham.2

If for some reason a Jew is not experiencing that belief, it is all the more reason to pray. The act and exercise of prayer will most likely awaken his/her soul, and the innate belief in G-d will be revealed.

Naturally, it is more enjoyable and meaningful when you understand the significance of what you are doing, and one of the commandments is to actually understand the commandments (through the study of Torah). Another one of the commandments is to believe in G-d.

One should therefore never be satisfied with the acts alone, and always aim for understanding and belief; but action is a very good place to start.

Footnotes

  • 1. See Exodus 24:7 "we will do and [then] we will understand". See also Ethics of Our Fathers 1:17 (action is the main thing).
  • 2. See Talmud tractate Shabbat 97a, G-d says the Jewish people are "believers the children of believers". See Tanya chapter 18 and Hayom Yom for the 21st of Elul.

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