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   30 Tishrei 5775 / Friday, October 24, 2014 | Torah Reading Noach       
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HomeSpirituality and FaithPersonal GrowthAuthenticity
By: Dr. Zev Ballen

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Let's talk a bit about authenticity. Authenticity describes the way we act towards ourselves, and to G-d, with the focus on how we need to be in order for us to be happy, and to be happily serving G-d.
We can only be happy and serve G-d happily, if we are connected to our real feelings, and what's really going on inside of us. This may sound a little strange, but our real feelings are Hashem - because Hashem is the truth, and the seal of Hashem - as we're taught by our Sages in so many places - is truth.
The trouble is, a lot of us are out of touch with our real feelings. Underneath all the makeup, behind the façade, underneath all the roles that we play, and all the things that we think we are - that's the truth. That's the real us, and we have to let ourselves "be" who we really are.
That means being the person we really are with the intelligence we really have; with the money we really have; with the piety we really have. We aren't putting on any pretenses, we're just being the real thing. And as soon as we do that, we start to connect to Hashem, and to truth, and to that sense of tremendous empowerment that comes from being authentically "us", and really connected.
Judaism is a religion of taking action, of doing things. Each of the 613 mitzvoth is training us to do something, and to get a result. The doingis where the magic is, where we get results. We all know that talk is cheap, and that we can't just think or imitate our way into a better life.
We have to do.
We have to see what we want, and see what is preventing us from achieving our goals and aspirations - what's blocking us? What's controlling us? Once we can start to answer those questions, then we can move on to the next stage of the process, which is using the tools I'm about to teach you to be able to take action, and to move, and to push through whatever is stopping us.
If this sounds a bit scary, don't fret or back out: most people are infinitely stronger than they, or their therapists, think that they are.
Three things that will help us to achieve fearless action
1) Believe in yourself.
2) Be truthful, honest and authentic about who you really are, and what you could really achieve in life. Honesty doesn't just mean being scrupulous paying your taxes and never telling a lie. Perhaps the most important dimension of honesty is owning up to what we're really feeling, even when it isn't very nice, or 'worthy', or politically-correct.
If I go before Hashem, and I say to Him: "Father, I'm sorry I was impatient and yelled at that child. I'm never going to do it again…."
We think we get brownie points and a pat on the back for that in Heaven. But what's really going on? Hashem looks down at us - and you, at me - and says: "Moshe, my dear son, what do you mean, you're never going to do it again? I see right through you, I can see right into the future, and I can tell you straight - youare going to do it again. Why aren't you being honest with me and yourself? Stop pretending that you're on top of everything, and come outside and talk to Me about your problems…."
When we do that, and we make an effort to really get in touch with our feelings, then we'll realize that probably half of us really does want to avoid yelling at our children at any cost. But the other half? That other half of us really isn't there yet. That half actually wants to stay connected to our problems, because deep down, we like our problems, and we want to stay connected to them. We're very comfortable with our problems and "baggage".
So how do we let go? How do we get behind our problems, and get underneath ourselves to see what's really going on, and to try to act on the problem from that place?
The answer is to go back to the drawing board, and to be completely honest about what we are actually, really, feeling. We have to ask ourselves the questions:
What am I really feeling?
What do I really want?
What are my goals?
A lot of us are scared to ask those questions, because we don't want to find out that we're doing or feeling something "wrong", something that doesn't fit our image of what a nice, Jewish person should be doing. Maybe we're scared G-d's going to punish us… But you know what? G-d already knows exactly what we're doing and where we're really holding, and He's not going to punish us anywhere near as much for making mistakes and doing the wrong thing, as He will for not being truthful, and owning up to our bad behavior.
That's real authenticity.
* * *
Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can see Dr. Zev's live video broadcast every Wednesday at 5pm Israel time here on You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna  Therapy.



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