My question is on the fear of G-d. I have always found this concept difficult to understand. For example I try to keep as many of the mitzvoth as I can because I want to and I am a follower of Judaism for the same reason not because of fear. I do not believe that G-d will destroy me if I do not follow a commandment. I believe in G-d and respect him, but I do not fear him. Is there a way to better understand this concept?
The Almighty is not out to get you. The fear you have described is not fear of G-d but fear of punishment, which is a very shallow way to serve Him. So you are right in not doing mitzvoth because He might ‘destroy’ you. G-d doesn’t want to destroy anybody, He loves you!
The fear of G-d that we strive for is the fear of disconnection from Him. Every time we act contrary to His will, we sever our spiritual connection which impedes the flow of Divine energy to us. That’s scary, indeed. In other words, we do not fear punishment; we fear the sin itself and its spiritual consequences. That is true fear of G-d.
The concept that you refer to in Hebrew is Yirat Hashem. We often refer to it as Fear of God but in reality, Yirat Hashem is better translated as the "awesomeness of God." Proverbs 28:14 teaches, “Praiseworthy is the person who is always filled with awe.”Yirat Hashem is being in awe of God which includes the Divinity and the majesty of the world. Yirat Hasham is an invitation for us to seek and to renew our relationship with God on a regular basis
As with any relationship, we may fear the loss of connection because we make mistakes or don’t do what we are supposed to do but God understands that because the Mitzvot and the concept of Yirat Hashem remind us that we should live purposeful and meaningful lives. The Mitzvot are the medium by which we interact with God but Yirat Hashem is the way in which we view God and the world. Feeling Yirat Hasham has little to do with the mitzvot we choose to perform or not although they will add to the holiness to the moment. Instead Yirat Hashem is more about attitude. If we hold the world in reverence then it will be special, if not then we won’t feel a thing. This reminds me of the other night when I arrived home late at night. I happen to glance into the sky and saw the millions of stars. I could have lamented the lateness of the hour and the darkness surrounding me or I could look up into the sky and see the vastness of space and the wondrous possibilities of what the future may hold for me. Recognizing the grandeur of the moment is being filled with awe and having Yirat Hashem.
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