Thursday, February 11, 2010


Emunah and Good Times

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Two anonymous commentors said on the Global Fear Update (comments merged & edited for brevity)...

i think the quote ...about iran destroying the world is not only inappropriate but wrong on two accounts. first, it plays into their hands of causing fear. the only thing we are to fear is HaShem. ...this blog shold be helping to create and foster emunah... please reconsider this final quote... especially since this is a torah informed website, that it is not permitted to create fear in me, it is not a kiddush Hashem to include this in your piece.

I'm going to set aside for the moment that these are NOT our words, but prophetic words from the holy sages - it's direct text from Yalkut Shimoni (which is a compilation of prophetic writings from all sources, Torah, Gemora, Navi, and associated Midrashim, and considered to have been compiled by HaRav Shimon Ashkenazi of Frankfort in the 12th century).

I met a young IDF soldier on the way home today, from a special armor recon unit. A secular Jew, but he had some religious questions. He asked me, "my commander, a religious guy, has a uniform patch that says 'Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.' Where's that from and what's it mean?"

I told him it's from Tehillim (Psalms) 23, and it was written by Dovid HaMelech (King David). King David was on the run from the soldiers of Shaul HaMelech (King Shaul) for the crime of having been anointed by Shmuel HaNavi (the biblical prophet Samuel) to replace Shaul HaMelech for defying the instructions from Hashem.

Dovid's on the run for his life, the army of the king hot on his heels. HE didn't do anything wrong. He's hiding in the forest of Cheret, literally starving to death. And there he composes a song to Hashem. There, in the midst of deprivation, chased for something he didn't do, hungry, tired, scared. He turns to G-d and says, "Hashem is leading me on the proper path. Though in danger, I am not afraid it's the wrong way. Though it's tough, it's a blessing. It's all good."

What is Emunah? Is it that everything is ok as judged by our worldly standards? Is nothing "bad" going to happen to me tomorrow because I have Emunah?

Absolutely not. Emunah is no guarantee, promise, or shield of protection against seemingly bad events happening in our personal lives or our national life.

G-d forbid, people may lose they're job, or house, or business. They may be accused of something and fined, or arrested, or jailed. People get ill, in accidents, get serious diseases.

According to the simple measure of the world, bad things will happen. Emunah is no protective barrier against such events.

What it protects against is knowing that it's not random and it's not meaningless, and not really even bad (from a beyond this world perspective).

Dovid HaMelech knew, it was not randomness nor the fecal matter hitting the air impeller. It was Hashem's plan. Each step, including the pain filled ones, was part of the Divine orchestration. Each had meaning beyond what Dovid could see at that moment, but he KNEW it was all being run by Hashem.

Now I don't know what, if anything, is going to happen tomorrow with Iran. I don't know if, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe already interpreted, the Yalkut Shimoni Yishayahu Remez 499 already happened or if it's about to. However, if it does I have Emunah that it's all part of the Divine plan. INCLUDING the fear that would come with an event described as "destroying the world" - or perhaps SPECIFICALLY the fear.

But when such fear comes, we must remember that it is Hashem that's running things, and properly direct the fear to Yiras Shamayim, fear of heaven. This is the lower-level fear, but it is one step towards the love and fear of Hashem that we all must have.

...And as the Yalkut says in another place (can't find it at the moment), when the Arab king stands up and says "see, our god is accepting our sacrifice and yours is not - so now come to our god" (in a literal reversal of the test of Eliyahu HaNavi and the priest of baal), the Jews will respond "we fear only Hashem, even after seeing a supposed miracle from your god".

Simple faith is believing it's all from Hashem and it's all _for_ the good, all planned and executed by the Master Planner, not that it's only going to be simple worldly good in obvious worldly ways because of my faith.


  1. We are told that fear of death is one of the ways to put off a din of meis 'the death sentence'.

    From this perspective then fear is good as long as it is fear of Ha kodosh Baruch Hu!

    If we fear man or Iran or the police or any other earthly creature or circumstance, such as having no money then this is called fallen fear and is called "K'firah" Flat out Heresy. For you are placing something before Hashem.

    So my brothers and sisters if you are afraid of anything and you do not attribute it to the Kodosh One who is running every detail of this creation. Then you are attributing it to a lesser deity.

    That my friends is Idol worship!!!

    If you will but wake up and fear Hashem and Him alone then there will be nothing else in the world that can scare you!

    Blessing and don't waste your time being afraid

  2. Well put. Thanks RebNati! :)

  3. your points about emunah are excellent. i wouldn't say 'it's all good'..but i think you make great points. still, re the referred to quotations: the point is not that they come from respected sources. it's the timing of them and the context. when israel was at the yam suf, moshe didn't say to them, "look, there's a huge army there trying to destroy us". see what i mean? it's precisely at times of crisis or potential crisis that one must use extra care with words, language and images to foster emunah.

  4. True you are right 100% but the issue of fear in general if we were where are suppose to be then no of this would even interest us.
    I personally feel we have no business listening to the news as it kills your Emunah all we need to know is written in the Torah and the words of our rabbis. but I also realize that we live in this world the darkest and furthermost from the truth. So I choose to insulate myself from the depressing lies spun by the media.

  5. Oh and there is no crisis when you trust totally in Hashem. All is the same the good and the seemingly bad, so just trust and all will turn out for the best Blessings


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