How Do You Keep God Alive In Your Life?

In his 1999 lecture on Exodus 34, Dennis Prager says: The Torah says you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. This is how you keep faith in God, by observing regular rituals. If you don’t observe regular rituals, you won’t keep God alive in your life.

No generation of Jews that has not remained God-oriented has stayed Jewish. Many Jews say I don’t need the rituals, I’ll keep Jewish values alive. It is a well-intentioned erroneous sentiment. Without rituals, nothing is kept alive.

The average Jew observes no Judaic rituals.

How do Christians stay God-oriented without these rituals? They have God made flesh. If they didn’t have God in human form, they too would need rituals to stay God-oriented. Islam has as many rituals as Judaism.

Unleavened bread symbolizes getting out of Egypt. Getting out of Egypt is the symbol for all of the Torah because Egypt symbolizes everything that Judaism rejects, such as a preoccupation with death, paganism, etc. Since the Egyptians invented bread, bread became the symbol of Egypt.

By eating unleavened bread for seven days, you reject Egypt.

There’s been a tremendous degradation in Jewish life over the course of centuries (in addition to tremendous elevation). The overwhelming majority of Jews have no clue as to what matza represents. They think you eat matza because there wasn’t enough time to bake regular bread while leaving Egypt, which is true but trivial.

The most important reason is that bread represents Egypt and unleavened bread represents getting away from Egypt and affirming the one God and life.

Observant Jews who live outside of Israel have added a day to the festival and made it to eight days. Seven days means creating a new life. Eight days means nothing.

Meaningless ritual is as worthless as no ritual. Why are most Jews non-ritual practicing? Their great grandparents in almost every case practiced the rituals. How did we go from 90% observance to 10% observance in a hundred years [the last half of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century]? Because it was meaningless.

The rituals are beautiful but even beautiful rituals that mean nothing will be dropped. Beauty isn’t enough. The brain needs reasons.

The Torah is a rational document. It does give reasons.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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