2 Kislev 5778 / Monday, November 20, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Leaky Emuna    

Leaky Emuna

Hashem says to each of us: "Nothing is going your way right now, but I’ve built you up for this moment, so use what you’ve learned with a smile…"


You've probably heard of leaky gut syndrome, right? There's leaky emuna syndrome too. Last Shabbat, I found out that I'm suffering from it.


I’m a regular guy who loves the whole Emuna thing as long as I don’t get tested too much; meaning that I don’t get pushed out of my comfort zone for too long and that I can still afford the overpriced organic Shabbat snacks for my kids. Gotta have Goji Berries! But my past Shabbat was so rotten that I can’t help but share with you some funny things.


Everything is sunset beauty when I have a Rav Shalom Arush book up to my nose. But with a few years of Emuna experience, I can say that it’s really about living Emuna and not just reading about it. I’m really good at reading, but when my classroom of teenage boys starts turning into a cage fighting scene, I can go crazy and act like someone who has never even heard of the word “restraint” and “composure.”


Somedays I can feel so close to God and not so much at other times, like when I’m in debt or had an argument. What transpired during a previous Shabbat put me literally face to face with my evil inclination, (that inner force that always causes us to do or say that really stupid thing). He loves it when I’m outside of my cozy zone, and when I say”love it”, that is a total understatement. Can you relate?? It’s like utter joy for him, the kind that a 5 year old has when he hears the ice cream man coming and he has Ninja Turtle Ice Cream. It’s ecstasy.


Everything for me went wrong that Shabbat. I was exhausted to begin with, annoyed with the nephews, and didn’t quite manage to put my kids to sleep while the older pre-teens played soccer in the living room downstairs, and it was “The Final Championship.” Have you ever heard a 13 year old scream GOAL in an Israeli Accent at 10:30 PM? It’s quite possible that you haven’t, but in my experience I am pretty sure that if you did you would agree with me that it is extremely loud and inappropriate. It’s also pretty entertaining listening to them argue about whether it was really a goal or not. But in either case I suggest avoiding putting your toddler to sleep in such an environment.


So as a dad who has read Garden of Peace and Garden of Education, I try and pray to do what it says to stay out of trouble. I try to treat my wife like a queen and look for the message Hashem is telling me when my kid calls me the occasional “stinky" or says “You’re not my friend.” Anyways, the whole Emuna approach thing went down the tubes when at 2:30 AM both of my children woke up in an unfamiliar home. We were being hosted at a relative’s home.


The florescent lights in the hallway outside our room were still on which didn’t necessarily help the already sensitive situation which called for a soothing environment to get them back to bed. It also didn’t help having the noise of the lights emitting with a maddening humming blare. I tried to take responsibility of the situation and let my wife sleep (big mistake but romantic.. sort of..) But my blood shot eyes were burning and I found it impossible even to find my kippa. I knew that in just a few hours I needed to already be back from the sunrise prayer service, which in itself is a challenge to wake up for. I thought Golani was tough.


I woke up late, missed most of the minyan and hurried back to help with the youngsters. When I got back they were all crying. They wanted raisins. I didn’t have enough.  Welcome to 7AM hysteria. Remember this parents: “Raisins equal silence and tranquility- David Perlow.”


They hated the food, whined, and enjoyed shooting free throws with their tomatoes and bread all over the floor. No one liked that except the previous night's soccer champs. My mind was in chaos mode. Every moment of the day it seemed like I was putting out a fire. But really I failed all of these tests worse than a second grader trying to clean his room on a sugar high when his favorite cartoon is on the TV. It just wasn’t happening.


I was faking the smiles, and trying to get along with everyone. I tried to get some learning in while making sure the toddler didn’t rip anyone’s hair out or hit the newborn, and failed twice. Haha, it’s funny now. And peace in the home seemed too out of reach. Sorry folks, your boy Dave flunked out, and I was feeling lower than dirt. High five!


The next day I found some time to do my 60 minute daily personal prayer session, or meeting - whatever you want to call it, with The Boss! There I was trying to make amends and ask forgiveness and I started to get a little upset with myself and angry at the fact that I had failed so many tests. But then I got a gift from God.  I remembered a rule in the Torah, that Hashem doesn’t give us a challenge that we cannot overcome. This rule means that all of our tests are specifically tailored to our own personal lives and individual spiritual level. Just like in the army, they build you up from small tests as a new infantry soldier to grueling challenges as an advanced trained fighter. But all of the tests are exactly matched to your level of skill.


THEN I FROZE, and had a spiritual moment (cool huh?). I reasoned that if Hashem gave me these tests.. in HIS eyes…HE knew that I was ready for them and could pass them with joy. When I was in the midst of the tests I thought I was going to run out of the house and scream and possibly hide somewhere! Haha! But in essence the big point was that God was showing me how strong I really am. If I went through all of those tests, it certainly meant that God knew I was ready for them. It was an amazing revelation because I had no idea that He believed in me that much!


I could have imagined Hashem putting a loving arm around me and saying, “Dave, don’t freak out, I know it looks hairy- it’s a dairy Shabbat morning meal and you’re starving. You probably will not get a nap in today, and who knows what else lies ahead. Nothing is goin’ you’re way, but I’ve built you up for this moment, now use what you’ve learned with a smile. Take a deep breath. You can handle everything in front of you because I never put you up to a test that is too hard for your capability!”


To recap:


God is not against us. Our challenges are proof of how much God truly believes in us more than we think!


Tips on how to apply:


Meditate for 10 minutes about the rule we learned, “No Test Is Beyond Me”


Spend 60 minutes a day talking to Hashem about everything in your life.

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