23 Cheshvan 5782 / Friday, October 29, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chayei Sarah
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HomeFoundations of JudaismJewish OutlookWho’s Driving?
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Who’s Driving?    

Who’s Driving?

Whether we are excited and happy, or terrified, all depends on who is in the driver’s seat…


The Joy of the Unknown 

The knock on the door startled Mrs. Levy. She wasn’t at all expecting to see her husband standing in the doorway in the middle of the day with a huge bouquet of flowers in his hand. She joyfully agreed to join him on a drive in the car, although she had no idea where they were going. She had almost forgotten that today was their 30th anniversary 


Usually, things that are unknown and unexpected scare us. But she was certainly not frightened, and had didn’t even have  the  slightest apprehension. Why? Because she was  traveling with her husband! 


However, the same situation could be turned into a hair-raising, traumatic and emotionally scarring experience, if the man at the door had been a stranger holding a gun… such a car ride would instead be  a chilling nightmare… 



Blessed is the One who Trusts 


Now let’s discuss someone who came to see me recently. Baruch is a religious Jew who suffers from extreme terror and anxiety. For him, there’s no morning, and there’s no night. He can’t function without medication. He’s constantly worrying that something will happen to either himself or his family. He’s always seeing danger and disaster on the horizon, which he feels is headed his way. Every minor wound gives him the feeling of being cut by the knife of the angel of death. Even worse than this, he’s already started to imagine that he suffers from completely imaginary pains. 


What’s the root of Baruch’s problem? He is afraid because he thinks he is traveling into the unknown with a stranger whom he cannot trust! 


However, if he would know and feel that the “driver” loves him, just like Mrs. Levy traveling with her husband, then he wouldn’t be afraid at all. But because Baruch doesn’t know and doesn’t feel that his “driver” loves him and wants to do good things for him, his life isn’t a life. And this is the root of all of his fears and emotional suffering. 



Curing the Fears. Completely! 

I asked Baruch “Do you have a son?” He answered me that he does. “Do you love your son?” “Of course I do! he answered.  


“Would it ever occur to you to harm your son?” I asked. “No way!” he answered. 


So I said to him: “If you love your son – so too your Father in Heaven loves you a million times more! You don’t have the ability to appreciate just how much. And if you want to do good things for your son – so too the Creator of the world wants to give you, do good things for you, and indulge you millions of times more than that. And if it would never cross your mind to harm your son – all the more so your Creator, who loves you so much, would not harm you or allow you to be harmed. And it hurts Him when you feel pain, even the smallest bit...” 


“If you want to get rid of all of these fears of yours completely, remember this well: A father always loves his children. A father only wants to do good for his children. A father does not do, and will never do, anything bad to his children! 



It’s Not Emuna – it’s Knowledge 

This isn’t even emuna... you don’t have to believe it. You must KNOW it! 

Just like Mrs. Levy knows that her husband loves her, and therefore has no worries. Or like your children sleeping in their beds comfortably, with no worry at all that you’re going to hurt them in the middle of the night. So too, you must live with the simple knowledge that Hashem loves you and created you only to shower you with His love, mercy and goodness. And then you live a life of tranquility and happiness! 


I advised Baruch to repeat these simple phrases over and over to himself: “Just as I love my children, so too my Father in heaven loves me. Just as I want to do good for my children, so too my Father in Heaven wants only to give me, motivate me, and do good for me. Just as I would not do anything bad to my children, so too my Father in heaven would not do anything bad to me...”  


I told him that especially when he is having a panic attack... he should go into a corner, breathe deeply, and keep repeating these phrases over and over, without interruption, until they penetrate into his heart and assuage him from all his fears. 


As a side note, this is also good advice for cases of sadness and depression, as they, too, stem from this same root of not knowing the “driver” and their happy destination! 


Happy and Inspired 


The biggest source of happiness that our Creator has is when a simple person knows just how much Hashem loves him. And as much as a Jewish person rejoices in their love of Hashem, so too the Creator wants to give him and guide him more and more. 


On the flip side, the biggest insult to G-d is being afraid that He will hurt us! This also causes Hashem the most pain, more than anything – the fact that His children don’t know how much He loves them! 


This knowledge, that Hashem loves us, is also a cure for fear and anxiety, and brings us deep happiness in life. It also brings tremendous joy to Hashem, and causes Hashem to shower us with abundance and salvations. 


The Freedom to be Loved 

The main reason for the mitzvah of remembering, repeating, and telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt – is so that we should feel how much G-d loves us!  


To be ready to leave everything we know, and follow Hashem into the desert of the unknown, is only possible when there is no doubt or fear, but rather, feeling complete joy, knowing that Hashem loves us.  


It should be Hashem’s will that we merit the redemption, already this month, and during this holiday of redemption and emuna – to be redeemed from all the exiles and troubles, and live a life of true freedom and happiness! 


With wishes for a happy and kosher Passover! 

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