Transactional Faith

Today I’m talking with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife about Transactional Faith. It is wrong to approach our faith as some sort of transaction believing that if we do what is right then we will be blessed? Is it wrong to believe that through our actions we can secure certain blessings and outcomes? Can we, through our diligent commitment to religious practices, win favor with God and therefore receive a better life? Through our righteous living can we be spared of horrific events? Can we secure financial security by paying our tithing? Do we open the door to receive revelation by fasting and attending the temple? Do we have the ability to keep our children in the faith by regular family scripture study and prayer? Is the idea of transnational faith misleading? Is transactional faith the wrong way to approach our faith? 

As we care about those around us and try to be more fair, more honest, and kinder, it pressures our evolution and it pressures our spiritual development. Trusting that process and tolerating it, helps you come to a wiser understanding of God and of self and of others.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

Transactional Faith: Interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife


Deborah Feldman
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots

We learn in school that God sent Hitler to punish the Jews for enlightening themselves. He came to clean us up, eliminate all the assimilated Jews…who thought they could free themselves from the yoke of the chosen ones. Now we atone for their sins. 

The first and greatest Satmar Rebbe said that if we became model Jews, just like in the olden days, then something like the Holocaust wouldn’t happen again, becasue God would be pleased with us. But how are we pleasing him with our little efforts, the thicker stocking, the longer skirt? Is that all it takes to make God happy? (Unorthodox, Deborah Feldman, p.96).

“Why did the rebbe decide that the women have to shave their heads,” I always ask my Bubby, “if nobody did that in Europe?”

Bubby would answer “… that the rebbe wants us to be more devout than any Jew ever was. He says that if we go to extreme lengths to make God proud of us, he’ll never hurt us again, like he did in the war.” (Unorthodox, Deborah Feldman, p. 25)

The rest of the interview: Here’s a track with the deleted clips from the Interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

Bonus Content: Deleted clips from the Interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife