Published March 2020
As Close as The Whisper of The Heart
One of the most basic ways a parent can reassure a child is by saying, “I am here” or “Mother is here” or “Daddy is here.” The very presence of a loving person is the deepest source of reassurance.
The religious equivalent of these sentences is, “God is here”, or even, simply, “God is.” The idea of God as a presence is the most meaningful concept in the entire galaxy of human feelings. When a person accepts this idea in perfect faith, then his tension, anxiety and fear are assuaged.
How often have you sat at the bedside of someone in pain or just emerging from the fog of sedation or anesthesia? You instinctively put your hand on the hand of the patient and say simply, “God is near”; then you observe that the hand of the patient relaxes and the entire being is at ease.
God is near to us: as close as the whisper of the heart, as omnipresent as the air we breathe. To summon Him, we need not shout; we need only to whisper the thought, “God is near.”
The Jewish people felt that nearness at the time of the Exodus. We feel it at the Passover Seder as we recount our beginnings as a faith. That is the message of Psalm 145 which we recite three times a day: “The Lord is near unto all who call upon Him; to all who call upon Him in truth.”
Rabbi Alvin Kass
Chief Chaplain of the NYPD