I just finished reading this book by Alice Hoffman. I loved it and recommend it to anyone looking for a good book. It is in my favorite genre of historical/religious fiction. It has got me thinking a lot about faith. The books follows four main characters during the years after the fall of Jerusalem - around 72 CE. It follows their lives through those horrific years and the maturation of their faith in Adonai. It is a fascinating look into multi-faceted world of Judaism after the fall of the Temple. While the faith of each of the women highlighted was unique to her, their devotion and personal relationship to God was similar.
What impressed me most about this book was the constant hardship, destruction, and personal sacrifice each of the characters endured, yet their faith remained. I often wonder if I could ever have that much faith. My life has been incredible easy. I have been fortunate that no true hardships have crossed my path. When you hear of the personal and political struggles people go through, I wonder how they are able to hold on to their faith. How do you stay a believer when your child is terminally ill, your country is at war, your mother dies far too young? I have known people who have gone through all these horrors, yet they continue to believe. I am amazed by it. It is one thing to believe "God is Good" when your life is going well, it is a whole other story when you are struggling to survive. I guess it boils down the eternal question "why?". Do you believe their is a reason for every thing or do you think it is all just random? What is the greater comfort? Does faith provide the reason? Does it make life easier or harder? These are all questions I have been pondering these past few days. I am drawn to the believers, but there is always that small kernel of doubt that questions everything.