We Must All Involve Ourselves In Emunah
Mein Tayera Brieder... My dear brothers, what better way to reach out to you then here in these pages! I want to tell you about Emunah!
There are many different avenues in avodas Hashem – the spiritual service of Hashem Yisbarach. Some are involved with benevolent acts of kindness; some put all of their energies into their tefillah. Many are engaged in Torah study, which itself contains many facets: Gemara study according to the peshat – simple meaning, or learning more in depth, or with acuity or profundity. Some research halachah, while others delve into aggadic sections. Some study books of ethics and morals, chassidus, or even Torah as understood through kabbalah. Each person follows the tendency of his heart and the yearning of his soul.
Nevertheless, through all these different avenues, every person must recognize and understand that there is an essential, vital, central point that we must all work on, namely, to attain a level of being connected to Hashem – deveikus. This is what the Mesillas Yesharim refers to with his opening remarks: “The foundation of saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of Hashem is that it be clear and known as a truth to a person what his duty in this world is... that man was only created to take pleasure with Hashem and to derive delight from the radiance of His Presence.” Solely studying Torah, davening, and doing acts of kindness are not enough for a person to reach the purpose for which he was created and sent to this world in order to achieve. Every person must attain deveikus, which is the primary inner core to everything.
The essence of deveikus is that we see and feel Hakadosh Baruch Hu in every step we take, at each point and in all situations. As our master, Dovid, King of Israel, wrote in Tehillim (139:78): “Where could I go from Your spirit, and where could I flee from Your Presence? If I would ascend to Heaven, You are there: if I would make my bed in the lowest places, behold, You are there!” In addition, he wrote previously (5): “Back and front You have fashioned me, and You have laid upon me Your hand.” Rashi (ad loc.) explains this to mean that Hakadosh Baruch Hu lays His hands upon us in every situation; whether it be when the circumstances are “front,” meaning in a revealed way where we understand His actions. or even when we are faced with conditions that are “back,” meaning that His presence seems hidden from us. He is always here!
This is the main component of the service of our Creator. namely, to seek ways to become close to Him. Through doing so we will be fulfilling the axiom of the Mesillas Yesharim cited above: “that man was only created to take pleasure with Hashem and to derive delight from the radiance of His Presence.”
Unfortunately, this principle is obscure to many of us. even those who study and toil in Torah. Understandably, every one of us studies and davens, for this is what the blessed Creator has commanded us to do: nevertheless, to find Hashem’s Presence in every situation, and to live with this understanding at all times, is very hard to achieve.”
It has been said that every person knows about emunah, has emunah, and even talks about emunah, but to be able to LIVE WITH EMUNAH – that is something unique. Why? Because it is easier for a person to always live with the feeling of “My strength and the power of my hand have brought me all that I have” (Devarim 8:17); it was his know-how and intuition which brought him his success. It is very hard for someone to totally negate and invalidate himself and his actions and feel that it was and is all due to the blessed Creator! Some people “credit” Hashem with more, some with less, there is a vast spectrum.
However, every one of us must assess ourselves as to what percentage of our success we consider our own and how much we attribute to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. The more one attributes his success to Hashem Yisbarach, the more this indicates the level of total emunah he lives with.
HaGaon HaRav Gamliel Rabinowitz shlit’a Rosh Yeshivah Sha’ar HaShamayim