11 Cheshvan 5782 / Sunday, October 17, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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Who Do You Believe In?    

Who Do You Believe In?

If you don't recognize Hashem's love for you, then you have missed the heart of emuna, and believe instead in a frightening figment of your imagination…


Moshe took his young son for a relaxing hour together in the park with some ice cream and treats, special father and son time. He had noticed that his son’s mood had changed, and he was more tense, sad and even afraid. After eating the treats and talking about this and that, Moshe asked his son what was weighing heavy on his heart. His son surprised him saying, “You know Daddy, I am afraid of you! I am afraid that you might yell at me, hurt me or even hit me.”


His father was shocked by this answer and responded, “Why are you suddenly afraid of me? We have a good relationship. I love you with all my heart. I work so hard to do only the very best for you. Even if rarely I see the need to punish you, it isn’t a punishment only to make you suffer. Rather, I tailor the punishment so that you learn the lesson you need to learn, and improve. I also give you boundaries, but again, this is only in order to protect you and keep you safe, physically and spiritually. I am never cruel to you, and I certainly never hate you…”


This is Our Story

We are all this son, and the Daddy is our loving Father in Heaven. The son was completely mistaken in the way that he understood his father’s actions and relationship towards him. He had totally missed his father’s overwhelming love for him.


So too, all of us have to sometimes deal with feelings like this towards our own Father in Heaven. Even though we all know in our minds that Hashem loves us and always treats us with mercy, and we believe that everything that He does is for our very best, in function, in real time – we are often filled with anxiety, fear, stress and worry. This stems from the fact that we don’t feel this truth in our emotional world. Deep down, we think that Hashem is punishing us with His big lightening rod, or we feel fear because we find that in truth we don’t believe with total conviction that absolutely 100% of the time, including whatever situation we’re currently in, that G-d is personally overseeing even this with absolute and perfect Divine guidance, and that G-d who loves you and only does good for you is in total control of the situation and its outcome.


However, it is this exact reality that is the deepest heart of emuna. This is because to believe in G-d who Created of the World, and to believe that he oversees His creations, isn’t such big wisdom. It is the foundation of emuna, but it isn’t the heart of emuna. However, without the heart, the entire organism cannot continue to function…


Believe in the Real G-d

To repeat, the heart of emuna is to have a deep, loving relationship with G-d, just like a son to his father. We don’t just have to believe that we are in the hands of some “god” up there in Heaven. We have to believe and experience the truth that we are in the loving hands of the Creator of the World, who loves you with an infinite love far greater than any human love, and only wants to do the very best for you, and wants you to have every good in the world.


And if you don’t yet believe in this truth in the depths of your heart, and truly live it – then you don’t really, truly believe in Hashem yet.


Instead, you have fashioned for yourself a strange god in your heart – a fearsome god who might get angry with you and hurt you at any moment. All your “emuna” in “god” and in that god’s “Divine guidance” is only false emuna and a figment of your imagination. That is to say, that you have missed the point of emuna, and you are putting all your energy into contacting the wrong address.


Hence, believing that G-d is like a loving father who loves you more than all the fathers ever loved their children in all of history combined, and that G-d is all merciful and compassionate, is the heart of emuna because without it, you don’t believe in the real G-d!


And all your prayers will therefore be incorrect as well. It would be like that father coming to give his son a hug, and the son responds by cowering in a corner and praying with his whole heart that his father shouldn’t smack him. Obviously, those prayers would be baseless and useless, since the son wouldn’t even be beginning to pray about the reality of the situation in the first place…


Who Gave the Torah?

This also has to be our relationship and outlook on the entire Torah and mitzvot. G-d didn’t give us all these commandments in order to “restrict us and not let us enjoy ourselves” for no good reason. Even the curses and punishments in the Torah are not there just to make our lives bitter.


Rather, G-d who loves us, gave us a system of laws which shield and protect us from things that will damage us physically and spiritually, and bring us to every good in this world and the next. Hashem simply wants us to be healthy and happy and live properly, so that we can succeed in this world and also our eternal life. This is real emuna in the Torah, and in the giving of the Torah.


Someone who feels restricted by the commandments of the Torah, or who feels forced to keep them, or is simply afraid of punishment for not keeping the commandments properly – doesn’t understand that the Creator who gave us the Torah, gave us a special present out of His great love for us. This is literally to disconnect the Torah and mitzvot from the real G-d who gave them to us, and instead, to think that the Torah was given by some angry, scary “god” that the person has created and imagined on his own.


The moment that we truly feel how much Hashem loves us and only wants to do good for us, how Hashem turned nature over in Egypt during the 10 plagues and when He split the sea just to save us, and how He gave us food, water and took care of us in the desert – and how He continues to take care of us like a loving father at every moment, breathing new life into us with every breath, provides us with our physical needs, heals us, and and and… that is the moment that we can now believe in the real G-d with pure and true emuna.

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