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  • Deb Griest

Learning from our Jewish Heritage

By Deb Griest

I recently read a blog from Richard Rohr, an author and spiritual teacher I don’t always agree with, but who challenges me to approach God from different perspectives. In this blog he was quoting from a book by Rabbi Rami Shapiro entitled Hasidic Tales – Annotated and Explained. Apparently since the beginning, Jewish writings and teachings (which Jesus would have been exposed to) emphasized the need to balance a knowledge of God with a relationship with God. Shapiro says ancient Rabbis taught that “God desires the heart.” However, he says that just like it is for most of us, the head knowledge usually won out in Jewish practice. Seems like all those seeking to follow God have the same problem!!!!

Shapiro goes on to describe the Jewish concept of d’veikus found in the Torah. It is the idea of “clinging” or “cleaving” to something or someone. I LOVE this word. It will now be part of my vocab. This word appears in Deuteronomy 30:20 – “love Yaweh your God, listen to His voice and cleave (the verb is davak) to Him for He is your life and the length of your days…” We need to actively davak to God throughout each moment of our life and develop an intimate connection with the Almighty.

If you are with someone (a person) all the time, what happens? I know, sometimes you get sick of them. But if your relationship is steeped in deep love, several things happen:

-You get so comfortable with them that you can hang out without talking
-You begin to see the world through their eyes
-You begin to anticipate their words and actions
-You long to share things with them when you are apart
-Some would say you even start to look like each other

I encourage you to continue reading the Bible, journaling, interceding for others in prayer, and going to church. AND I encourage you to just davak to God, let your mind calm down, and just hang out with Him. Let your heart be opened to the movement of His Spirit in you. Your experience of reading the Bible, journaling, interceding for others in prayer, going to church and all the other things we Christians DO, will be changed and YOU will be changed forever. If you need some help just hanging out with God, see the Resources section of our website ( for some tools or better yet, join us for one of our retreats.


Women’s Fall Retreat

Finding Joy in a Crazy World!!

Oct 14 (8pm) -Oct 16 (11am)

@ Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center in Fremont, Ohio

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