How to figure out what you believe

May 8th, 2017

The rules and practices of Hebrew language reveal subtle truths. Hebrew, for example, has no word for “is” or “am.” 

For example, you cannot say “Rain is falling.” You can only say “Rain falls” to say it is raining right now.

Another example: You can't say in Hebrew “I am tired right now.” You can only say “I feel tired right now.”

This distinction may seem unimportant, but it reflects a powerful truth. Saying something “is happening” puts reality outside of ourselves.

It suggests life unfolds without our participation. What we do and feel is imposed upon us, and not shaped by us.

But we shape the way we experience life. Our feelings and our deeds are not imposed on us. They emerge from us.

Between any event and our response to it lies the space of decision. What we decide — how we respond — is up to us.

Another way of describing this truth is a well-known phrase — Deed over creed. What we do counts for more than what we believe.

This perspective may sound heretical to some. But ask yourself this question: What better reveals our character. What we say, or what we do? We know the answer.

Truth emerges from our deeds. They reveal who we are and what we truly believe.

The power of deed is why I love to tell stories. They reveal the real truth about us. You can find lots of them in my soon-to-be released The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today.

P.S.: For those of you in the Chicagoland area, I am speaking at Kenilworth Union Church on May 15th at 7:00 PM. Would love to see you there!

Evan Moffic is the author of Shalom for the Heart,  What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover and What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Jewishness of Jesus. He blogs at

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