Monday, December 26, 2005

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Confusion about Faith

There seems to be some confusion over the issue of emunah (faith). It's been suggested that avoda (divine service, but here meaning Torah learning and mitzvot) is the appropriate path (or at least the primary path), and faith is a side effect.

Is the mere learning of Torah and practicing the miztvot is sufficient to change the world and to merit Olam Haba (the next world)? Why do we learn? Why do we do? Is it not to prove our faith! Is it not nothing more that a phyisical expression of our belief? The basic premise to our action is to beleive, for if we didn't believe we certainly would not perform, for why would a man or woman do something for nothing?

Avoda without Emuna is like being a golem (a robot).

Previously I quoted the Baal HaTanya, author of the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and a major halachic gaon of our recent past, as well as being a major chassidic leader and author of the famous Tanya, who said in the generation prior to Moshiach the primary service is prayer.

Rava: "The purpose of learning is repentance and good deeds" (Talmud Brachos 17a)

Rav Huna: "He who occupies himself only with studying Torah acts as if he has no God" (Talmud Avoda Zarah 17b)

So what is repentence and what is good deeds if not but prayer?

And, why pray if you don't believe?

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