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Dr. Emuna: No Fear    

Dr. Emuna: No Fear

Fear can paralyze us, and there is plenty in this world to be afraid of: disease, finances, war...but there is only one solution.


The recent passing of Gabriella Smith from the English-speaking community in Ramat Bet Shemesh in Israel has created a ripple effect of shock and pain around the world. Besides the close friends and acquaintances like myself who mourn her because we knew her, many other people have expressed their pain over her passing, such as Orit Esther Riter wrote about last week in her article I Didn't Even Know Her...  


Gabriella battled cancer (Hashem should save us) more than a decade ago and won for a time – until it returned with a new vengeance, at which point the end was swift. Dealing with managing this disease and others like it, including many miraculous stories of healing after people strengthened their emuna and said “thank you” for their illness, is far beyond the scope of this article and I refer the reader to Rabbi Arush’s books The Garden of Healing and Say Thank You and See Miracles for a proper discussion of this topic. Nor can I deal with the aspect of mourning Gabriella and dealing with the pain and depression which can result after losing a loved one or close friend – although Rabbi Arush dealt with this subject beautifully in his article Consolation after Loss which was written for Shabbat Nachamu. 


I do want to focus on an important aspect of Gabriella’s story, which does touch everyone alike – the fear. There is the real fear that arises in the back of everyone’s mind when tragedies like this strike: Who says that something like this couldn’t happen to me? 


This is why it isn't about whether or not you knew Gabriella to cry over her. Every young mother of children cries hot tears that Hashem should save her from Gabriella's fate of passing while her children are still young. We all pray for long years of life to see generations of offspring, and nachas (pride and satisfaction) from all of them. The news of her passing hits our own reservoirs of deep-seated fear, and the pain wells for the pain we couldn't imagine to bear or see our own family bear. 


Fear is real and cannot be ignored. More specific to the Dr. Emuna series, fear can cause real and lasting effects in the body and soul, which can in turn become springboards for illness G-d forbid 


One of the many problems with fear is that sometimes, a person can become so afraid of something, that they inadvertently create their worst fear. One of the amazing things that G-d created about the mind is that it is only positive; it doesn’t understand the concept of negativity. This is why in all forms of affirmations, we are taught to only use the positive. For instance, say to yourself: I am completely healthy and strong and don’t say: I don’t have cancer. Your mind can create for you the reality that you tell it, but it doesn’t understand when you say, “not that!” Instead, it will create exactly that, G-d forbid! 


While lots of affirmations and other tools can put a band-aid on fear, the only real solution is the emuna that Hashem is the One who does everything, and He does everything for the best.  


As Rabbi Arush writes in The Garden of Healing (page 299): “Some people are afraid of diseases, some are afraid of problems with their finances, some are afraid of wars, murderers and thieves. But all fears stem from a flaw in emuna. A person who believes that there is Hashem in the world, and everything is for the best, has no bad or evil in his life.” 


We can remove our fear (as well as anxieties, PTSD, and all sorts of emotional ills) by using the formula he brings in that same book:  


First, to thank Hashem for the fear, and for the emotional suffering we experience because of the fear. In this example, you can thank Hashem for the emotional pain you experience from the fear of passing in the prime of your life and while your children are still young.  


Hashem is bringing you this pain for a reason – generally, to help you realize that you need to strengthen your emuna, and speak to Hashem about what you are experiencing. Since strengthening your emuna and speaking to Hashem are good things, then automatically, the emotional pain you are experiencing is also good! It is pushing you to fulfill your purpose for being in this world! So, say thank you. 


Then, strengthen your emuna that ein od milvado – G-d is the only Power, and only G-d, and G-d alone, does everything. Nothing is random, and nothing has power independent of Hashem. 


For instance, you can say: “Please strengthen my emuna so that I am not afraid of anything. Nothing can happen to me unless You will it, and if You will it, then it is for the best. Thank you, Hashem, that I am in Your Good Hands, and that I am ONLY in Your Good Hands." 


It is also an excellent addition to this formula to thank Hashem for all the times that Hashem has helped you with whatever you are afraid of. You can also do teshuva for all the times that Hashem helped you, and you didn’t recognize and appreciate that it came from Hashem in His love and mercy, and therefore didn’t say thank you. 


For instance, you can thank Hashem for every single limb and organ that you have that is healthy. You can thank Hashem for every single time you were sick, and Hashem healed you. Rabbi Arush says that one of his closest teachers, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz zt”l, once told him that it is of utmost importance to thank Hashem for your health on a daily basis. Inevitably people get sick from time to time, and when they do, this gratitude stands for the person in the Heavenly Tribunal as an important merit to secure a judgment that they should be healed quickly. 


The most important thing is to not just swallow that lump in your throat, dry your eyes, and bury the pain and the fear, where it will continue to fester. Rather than deny the fear, face it head on with emuna until Hashem helps you to dissolve it completely. Repeat as many times as it takes until you begin to truly live the reality: No Fear! 



Dedicated in memory of Rachel bat Yisrael a"h (Gabriella Smith)



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 and comments to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il.






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