I believe!

How do you do it, how do you believe b’Emunah shleimah (with full faith)? Certain things I am dealing with right now are severely testing my faith, and I know that I need to work harder on knowing deep within my soul that this will all work out the right way, that it’s all part of God’s plan. Blind faith – does there come a point that you have to admit it isn’t working? Or is blind faith like that old chestnut of the man hanging off a cliff, ignores the rescue attempts, dies and then asks God why He didn’t help him and gets told “who do you think sent you the helicopter…??” If you do your Hishtadlut – due diligence – you need to be able to trust that it’s all safe in God’s hands, right? Is that what blind faith is?

Is having true emunah and bitachon an issue that FFBs struggle with more than BTs or converts? Is it because I was brought up with God front and centre that I take Him for granted until things go wrong and then have a hard time believing and trusting 100%?

What do you do to improve your belief and faith in God? Can you help me do it too?

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16 responses to “I believe!

  1. KosherAcademic

    I do not believe constant faith is necessary–or even human. To me, b’Emunah shleimah means that even when I doubt as I act as if I fully believe, knowing that at some point I will find a way to deal with whatever is causing me to question.

    G-d does not expect us to perform at the level of always believing (that is a demand of Christianity!), but to do the best we can, which, let’s be honest, every now and again isn’t very good.

  2. Faith works differently for each person. I have not doubt that there is a supreme being that created the heavens and the earth and all its attendant life. Of this I have no doubt. My doubt only comes when I have a great number of trials and tribulations set before meand I question whether they all will get done. At the point the lack of faith in not in a higher power but in myself – knowing that it would not be put there if it were truly insurmountable. So I slightly despair in myself in doubting and get to the task at hand. Now it may take longer, cost more, be more messy or even less pleasant than originally planned, but it gets done. We all do the ebst we can and how we can. What works for one need not work for another, each path walked is different so faith is a very personal thing.

  3. Yossi Ginzberg

    Ah, that’s why older people are more revered in Judaism: As you age, you see more and more often how what was a disaster at the time turns out to have been for your benefit, in the long run.

    I’m lovin’ it, seeing how my old misfortunes have all turned to great boons!

  4. shualah elisheva

    i’m not sure it’s a f.f.b. or a b.t. or a ger thing. i think faith just IS individual. s’part of what i love about judaism, as opposed to other religions: there is no expectation about the level of faith, so much as there is a belief that actions should be continued as though that faith was never in question.

    sort of what kosher.academic said.

    besides, when you question, you still have faith – it takes emunah shleimah to even ask or doubt in the first place.

  5. questioning can also be an affirmation.
    there was a good scene about this last year in an israeli show:

    • From http://www.aish.com/jw/id/48908702.html
      Written by the mother of Nachshon Wachsman (HY”D)

      “My husband’s greatest concern when burying his son was that there would be a crisis in faith. And so he asked Rabbi Elon to tell everyone that just as a father would always like to say “yes” to all of his children’s requests, sometimes he had to say “no” though the child might not understand why. So our Father in Heaven heard our prayers, and though we don’t understand why, His answer was “no.”

  6. “If you do your Hishtadlut – due diligence – you need to be able to trust that it’s all safe in God’s hands, right? Is that what blind faith is?”

    This is ‘the’ question of all times.
    My understanding is that faith is believing that G-d has calculations that we may not understand. If we’re lucky, G-d will call them out to us, as he did to Job, otherwise, we may never understand G-d’s ways.

  7. I think it is a sign of intellectual maturity when one allows ones beliefs to evolve over their lifespan. Why should you have the exact same belief as you did when you were twenty?

  8. the toughest question of all.
    knowing your situation and knowing how difficult life is for you right now it’s awkward for me to write all i’ve heard/learned about emunah. one thing i know for sure, if you want some chizuk/strengthening in emunah, have a talk with yael.
    emunah is s/t that is not practiced when everthing is hunky-dory, it is only practiced when “everything’s going wrong”. as i understand it only a person who is always grateful when they have smooth sailing is a person with emunah during the good times. but most of us don’t remember to be grateful all the time. so our emunah testing seems to be only when times are rough. but emunah testing is also when things are good we only notice it when things are rough.

    (please forgive me for the next paragraph i am only writing what i know as i’ve been told it about myself, please don’t take it personally unless you find a lesson for yourself)
    i once asked this question to someone and they said to me that such lack of emunah is a sense of gaava/false pride. “things aren’t going my way, how can i trust G-d, e/t seems wrong.” who do you think you are, said my friend, that you know better than G-d what is right for you?

    have you ever read the garden of emunah? there seems to be a recurring theme in the breslov materials i’ve learned lately, about thanking G-d for our troubles. there’s a story of a man going to the fields to pray. onthe way there he meets his friend who asks him what’s going ….? the man starts to tell his friend all the troubles he’s having all the debts that he has piled up and that he’s gong to the forest to pray and cry about it. this friend asks him, so how long have you been praying and crying about this? months!, he answers. well, says his friend, why don’t you try thanking G-d for your troubles, crying didn’t help maybe thanking Him will.
    so the man went to the forest and spent his hour thanking G-d instead.
    after a few weeks he was given a gift that cleared up almost all of his debt and what was left over was small enough he on his own could easily repay. (shrug) i guess it never hurts to try s/t new.

    lastly, as you know, emunah is a lifelong job. and as Rabbi Lazer Brody says, forgetting your troubles for an hour will help you restart your effort with emunah. so i say no matter how many hours it takes, take them and forget as much as you practically can. Hang in there Hadassah

    • How come that those hasidic stories always involve treasures falling from heaven to resolve a debt situation?

      Why did the friend not ask: You have been praying for months, but what did you DO to solve the problem?

      • I think the reason is that there was a time when Jews in eastern Europe were not allowed to have many jobs and were not allowed to migrate to cities where they may have found a permitted job(as other rural people did), of course guilds, schools and most professions were closed to Jews. The misery was extreme, the options were extremely limited. That is why no one asked the question you pose from your reality. Today’s economic freedoms are a recent development of the western world (not enjoyed by many people across the globe to day, where debt-slavery still exists, etc)

        • But Chassidim today live in the same western world, not under cruel, unjust “Poritzim”.

          So it is about time they change their stories, lest they fall in deep fatalism and apathy…

  9. blind faith…child like faith….call it what you want, it’s all the same, and you either have it or you don’t!…it’s also about coming to the realization (during EVERY test) of accepting….accepting that you’ll get an answer when the Almighty Ribbono Shel Olam is ready to give it! Accepting that for the moment, you’re answer may be No! Accepting the idea of changing the way you are davening and how you are requesting of Him, may be a good thing.
    Often times, what we perceive is/will be good for us, is not. This is hard because we only realize this many years down the road.

    Faith is acceptance. It is many other things as well. Stop questioning for a bit of time….do the necessary legal things that you DO have a pull with, leave the rest for One with bigger shoulders.

    You’ll all get through this with smiles on your faces….but it will be on HIS time.
    In the meantime, though, I’ll be around with lots of hugs for you.

  10. your post gave me chills. i hope you are okay and please know that good thoughts come from seemingly random places. i don’t believe that questioning and faith are mutually exclusive. *truly,* sending you all my best.

  11. wow i would not say that things always happen “for the best,” that is so infuriating to hear when bad things are happening. Like, what are even the implications of that? That for instance, being apart from her husband (a major thing she is going through right now) is somehow for the best? Are you farking kidding me? That is not “best!”

    Hadassah, Sometimes things just don’t work out the way /with the speed you want them too, but at those times you have to remember that you have gotten through much worse, and you can get through this too. Think of all the tough times you have gone through…ending a marriage, raising 4 boys by yourself, you are a kick ass strong woman and you can do this too!

  12. Emunah and Bitachon is a double-edged sword in several respects.

    1) It is intended for a personal relationship between you and hashem and cannot be transferred to anyone else.

    It might be terribly counter-productive to tell a friend in dire straights “Well, have emunah and it will all work out” instead of helping be actual ACTION.

    (Worst of this case was a father (divorced) who wanted to “pray” for his daughter when she started to go astray. Mother answered: I do not need your prayers, come right over here and help).

    2) Emunah should not replace action, but go along with action.

    because if you have too much of it or use it the wrong way, it could lead you to be fatalistic and stop doing anything, cause hashem will provide…

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