How to Talk to Your Kids About God

Most young children have some concept of God. It is important to respond to their questions with sophistication and honesty.

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Some have spoken of God as far beyond us, others as largely inside of us. [One] midrash teaches that when God gave the Torah to Israel, it was like a mirror in which each person saw his or her own image reflected. Theologically, God relates to each in a unique way; God presents a different face to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all of their descendents. We do not have to get it "right." Ideas of God will always vary; our task is to struggle, to care.

Our aim is not answers but spiritual growth. Allow yourself to be open to the directions that spiritual exploration can take you. Once again, as so often, through teaching our children, we learn.

Some traditional Jewish thoughts on God:

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deutoronomy 6:5)

"God is as close to us as the mouth is to the ear." (Talmud, Berachot 13a)

"It is the way of a father to be compassionate and it is the way of a mother to comfort. The Holy One said, 'I will act like a father and a mother.' " (Pesikta DeRav Kahana 19:3)

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Rabbi David Wolpe

David Wolpe is the rabbi of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles and the author of several books on Jewish belief.