Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Emunah is the Purpose

Some Torah from Rav Shalom Arush, shlita, is being made available to us to share.  We’ll be publishing, with some edits as appropriate for our audience.

on Mystical Paths, Torah by Rav Shalom Arush, shlita

Hashem gave me the merit to find a simple proof that emunah is the purpose of the world, the purpose of Torah and mitzvot and the purpose of man. If a person learns Torah and performs mitzvot, but doesn’t live with the reality of Hashem at every moment, he didn’t get to the purpose for which the Torah and mitzvot were given. For if the Torah and mitzvot are themselves the purpose, then why did we come to this world, a world of darkness and concealment? The souls could stay in the upper world where they see Hashem eye to eye and there learn Torah like the tzadikim in Gan Eden. There they could also perform mitzvot as our sages say that Hashem puts on tefilin and prays and keeps mitzvot. Why come to this world? Because only here in this world do you need emunah. In the upper world, you don’t need emunah - there you see Hashem and delight in His light. The whole reason for which we came down to the world of darkness is to know Hashem and from within the darkness to come to complete emunah, to live the existence of Hashem every moment. The Torah and mitzvot are vessels that bring a person to this. If a person learns Torah and it doesn’t bring him to such an emunah that he lives the existence of Hashem every moment of his life, then why is he in this world? We see that the whole purpose for which a person is in this world is just to get to emunah, to find Hashem in the darkness at every moment and complete emunah is only when a person says thank You on everything. He knows everything is from Hashem and everything is good. Thank You Hashem!

One of my students was looking for a parking spot in a huge shopping center but the lot was packed. He drove around for fifteen minutes amongst the parked cars all the while praying: “Ribbono Shel Olam, please find me a parking spot. I have to park here. I have things to buy and there is nowhere for me to park. Help me.” Nevertheless he found nothing. All the spots were taken and where ever someone was about to leave their spot, several cars were already behind him waiting to get in. All of a sudden he remembered how I always say in my lessons that we need to thank Hashem for everything so he started thanking Hashem for not finding a parking spot and for the delay. He said, “Ribbono SHel Olam, everything you do is for the best, every delay is for the best, so this must certainly be the best thing for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” As he was saying ‘thank you’ he continued to drive around the lot slowly. All of a sudden, a guy sitting in his car in the parking lot, gets out of his car and calls out to him, “Come! Park here.” Even though several other cars were sitting behind him awaiting his exit, this guy said to them, “This is my friend. I was waiting for him.” And he never met the guy in his life.

When he told me this story, he asked: “How come when I prayed for help, nothing happened but when I said ‘thank you’ I was answered?” I told him that it is because our prayers are accepted according to our emunah. When a person prays for something, who’s to say he believes that everything is for the best? He says to Hashem, “Help me”, but he feels that what he is experiencing is not good and therefore pleads with Hashem to get him out of what he believes to be a ‘no good’ situation. Even if he says to Hashem “Only you can help me”, his emunah is still lacking therefore his prayers cannot be accepted. However, when he says ‘thank you’, he believes with complete emunah: this is what Hashem wants and it is the best thing for me. The result is that he believes in Hashem Blessed He with complete emunah and that is why his prayers are accepted immediately. Moreover, according to what we explained before that man’s whole purpose in this world is to come to emunah, and with every test he goes through the purpose is to bring the person emunah, when he says ‘thank you’ it means that in this specific test he has come to complete emunah and withstood the test in which case he fulfilled the purpose and there is now no more reason to delay answering his prayer. When he prayed to Hashem without saying thank you, he had still not yet achieved complete emunah because he thinks he is having a problem and troubles, but according to the emunah rule of thumb, he is in the best situation in the world.

Now, in the days of the month of Elul, in which we are strengthening ourselves with new desires and prayers for a good new year, we should strengthen ourselves to see that all the requests and desires we have should come from the standpoint of emunah, through thanking Hashem wholeheartedly for everything that happened in our lives up until this moment. Through this may we merit to have all of our prayers accepted and may Hashem extend us His right hand [of mercy] to accept us back in complete tshuvah and to really bring us close to serve Him.

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