10 Kislev 5781 / Thursday, November 26, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Dr. Emuna: Put the Knife Down    

Dr. Emuna: Put the Knife Down

I stood in the kitchen, holding the knife. I wanted to die, because life like this was not worth living. But then, I realized that one thing was worth living for…


Why Live in Hell? 

Almost 30 years later, I still remember it clearly, as if it was happening now 


I stood in the kitchen, alone, holding the kitchen knife. It was the middle of the night, and everyone was sleeping. Even though I was only a child of approximately 11, somehow I knew that it was possible to slit your wrists with a knife, and in this way, die.  


That’s what I wanted. To die. I couldn’t take the suffering of the abuse that I was experiencing anymore. If this is life, why live? 


The good news is that I am terrified of blood. I stood there trembling and crying. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, but I so, so wanted just to get it over with and be done with the suffering. 


Suddenly, I thought to myself: “Maybe there is a purpose in all this suffering?” 


I looked at the knife. I looked around the kitchen. I looked back at the knife. 


Either I am going to decide that G-d really exists and there is a purpose to my suffering, or I am really just going to kill myself right now because I will not continue to suffer like this for nothing! EITHER THERE IS A PURPOSE, OR END IT ALREADY! 


At that moment, I decided with absolute resolution: 


There is a G-d! There is a purpose to this suffering! I don’t know what that purpose is, but I AM GOING TO FIND IT! 


I put the knife back in the drawer. 



Hell is This World 

As the old adage goes, “Life ain’t easy.” And it’s true. Life in this world is full of suffering. Rebbe Nachman says that people think that Gehinnom (Hell) is in the next world – but really, Gehinnom is a good place where people receive their rectification (think along the lines of a hospital in which people suffer but hopefully then they are cured) and Gan Eden (Heaven) is certainly good. Therefore, Hell is actually THIS WORLD!  


That’s why everyone has so many questions! As Rabbi Arush explains right on page 1 of The Garden of Emuna, without emuna, there are a lot of questions – and no answers! But with emuna, there are no questions.  


Why does emuna solve all the questions like some sort of magic? Because the questions come from all of our suffering, and the suffering we see around us.  


I learned once this very important equation: PAIN + NON-ACCEPTANCE = SUFFERING. 


Emuna enables us to accept the pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional or even spiritual (for instance, we want to fulfill certain commandments and right now, it’s too hard for us). Now we understand that everything is from Hashem and for our very best, based on a spiritual accounting that we can’t see and understand in this world. Now, the suffering has a purpose!  


Therefore, emuna is like a healing salve for the pain in our hearts. As we begin to trust Hashem who does see and does know everything, and is working everything in the very best way possible – the wounds start to heal, and the pain starts to numb. Eventually as we sweeten our present and our past with emuna, we start to live in Gan Eden in this world already… 


This is why Rabbi Arush is constantly reminding us: “Or emuna, or Gehinnom! There is no third option!!!” Really, what is Hell? A place of suffering! With emuna, we don’t suffer anymore, because even the pain, the hardships, the difficulties, the trauma – it all has a good purpose. We cannot see and understand that purpose in “real time” at the time of the test, but it certainly does exist and if we could see it, we would actually be happy with the pain and suffering!!! This is the entire basis of emuna and thanking Hashem. 


By saying that emuna is the only way out of Hell, what Rabbi Arush is really saying, is that emuna gives us a PURPOSE for all the suffering in the world. That enables us to not only survive the Hell of this world, but thrive and completely transform it into something good. 



A Life of Meaning 

This is a real story. This is MY story. I briefly mentioned in my article Dr. Emuna: You CAN Heal that I have just a little personal experience in healing trauma with emuna to be able to share it with you, and teach you how to do it too (G-d willing more articles on that coming soon). Now you know a little more. 


But this isn’t just about trauma and abuse, although this might speak to you if you are one of the many (possibly majority?) of people who have had a brush with it. 


This is about every single one of us. Every one of us suffers in one way or another. Every one of us has had things in our lives that we regret, or we wonder why that happened to us. Every one of us has worries, fears, difficulties, and anxieties, and possibly even traumas of various forms. Every one of us has unanswered questions. Every one of us is searching for the answers to those questions.  


Every one of us is searching for the truth. And every one of us is searching for the purpose of life.  


The only difference between you and me, is that my situation was so extreme that I started my search when I was just a small child in order to survive. I didn’t have the luxury to enjoy life and only later start to wonder what it was all for. 


Don’t feel bad for me, because I don’t feel bad at all. Now, I am happy for everything that happened to me!  

Why? How is such a thing possible?!  


Simple. Now, I live a life of purpose. A life of meaning, and truth. A life of emuna. A life of happiness! AND IT MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT. ALL OF IT!!! 


Please, don’t think my life is easy, and that I must live a fairy tale – because I don’t, and far from it. I could write and write about my ups and downs, my worries, struggles and difficulties – with income, with the husband, with the kids, with my own past. But when I stop and breathe, when I look outside at the beautiful Jerusalem stone, I am filled with a deep happiness and satisfaction that is hard to put into words, because it isn’t a physical feeling as much as a spiritual feeling. And I know that I have won the billion gazillion dollar lottery! 


And you, my precious brother or sister, because we are all children of G-d even if I happen to be an only child – I want you to also experience this happiness. The happiness of living a life of emuna, close to Hashem. A life of true, eternal meaning and purpose.  


Why wait to start living the real good life? It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, you can still learn emuna, you can still connect to Hashem. Start today. START NOW! 


Happy are you in this world – and happy are you in the Next World! 


Read more about how I found emuna, and how I thank Hashem now for my painful childhood, in part 2 - Say Thank You for ABUSE?!


Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel. 

Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il.


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