10 Tishrei 5781 / Monday, September 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
 
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Getting to Know Hashem    

Getting to Know Hashem



There, on the first Shavuot at Mount Sinai in the Hebrew year of 2448, nearly three million men, women and children witnessed Hashem's revelation first-hand…

 



We all say that we believe. But do we really know what we mean and intend to say? How do we know that we know? After exploring different spiritual approaches as a college student and living a completely secular lifestyle I found that Judaism and Emuna were the best approach to living a life of happiness and luckily made the change.

 

I myself have had periods in my life where I’ve had money and periods where I could barely afford pita bread. I’ve had times when I was very popular and times that I felt very alone.  Money comes and it goes what stayed with me in all of the transitional periods in my life was feeling that there is a G-d. No matter what the circumstance, good/bad, rich/poor I knew in my heart that He exists but didn’t know how to go further. But what does Torah observant Judaism say about this? Let’s examine the concepts known in the teachings of Emuna from Rav Shalom Arush as “Knowing Hashem” and “Getting to Know Hashem.” Both of these terms are essential in building our Emuna and are explained at length in the fabulous book The Garden of Emuna for Young People translated in English by Rabbi Lazer Brody.

 

The term “Getting to Know Hashem” refers to when a person examines his own life. The events and circumstances of one’s childhood through their current age are filled with The Creators’ fingerprints. We focus on the Divine Providence within our own personal lives and look for Emuna explanations as to why things happened the way they did. We ask questions such as how were those events for my good, how were they designed to bring me closer to G-d and appreciate Him more? We reflect and try to make sense of it all with a predisposition of Emuna. What was G-d telling me all those years? What was he signaling to me? More importantly, what is he telling me now?! And where do I go from here!?

 

As we set out to build our Emuna we focus on the Divine Providence and intervention of G-d in our lives. A way to do this is by taking an hour a day of personal prayer and reflecting about all of the different events that took place in our life to get us where we are today. My favorite time to do this is on Shabbat with a cup of coffee in the early morning on my rooftop in Jerusalem. Find a place where you are comfortable and try to make a list of all the major events that have happened over the past five years. What is the message He is sending you? When we look through the lens of Emuna, that everything is from G-d, for the best, and designed to bring me closer to Him we begin to see that G-d is playing a huge role in our lives. This allows us to further strengthen that personal connection as an individual to G-d and move forward productively.

 

This same aspect can also be applied not only to the personal level but also a collective one. For example, look at the nation of Israel. As we look through history and see how from the days of Avraham to Moses and then to the Prophets, all of the prophecies have nearly been fulfilled, with the exception of The Third Holy Temple being rebuilt. When we analyze the prophecies and see how they unfolded throughout with a near 100% success rate, it’s a clear sign that Hashem is working very closely with our people and that He is real. Knowing this, an individual especially within the Jewish religion can harness his or her talents. By living an observant life, or moving to Israel, or spreading Emuna, an individual benefits not only themselves but the world at large affecting both the micro and macro scales of spiritual elevation.

 

KNOWING G-D

 

So far we have talked about the idea of “Getting to Know G-D.” Now let’s address the idea of “Knowing G-D.” This aspect involves learning and educating oneself through the Torah as to what His will is and following through. We put away our preconceptions of what is good according to Hollywood and MTV and submit ourselves to the unbroken chain of Torah adherence dating back to when Moses and the Jewish People received the Torah at Mount Sinai on Shavuot. There, nearly three million men women and children witnessed God on the most spiritually extreme level ever. Our job is to respect that and work to put aside our modern day notions and logic as to what secular society says is true, good or acceptable and examine within the framework of what G-d demands from us. The more we shed our dispositions of what western society says and instead immerse ourselves in learning Emuna and the Laws G-d created for our people, we start to feel that we are beginning to walk a happy path in life and truly make a change in the world, both on a personal and global scale because we are aligning ourselves up with truth and not pop culture.  

 

HOMEWORK:

 

Make a list of some of the major events that have happened to you over the past five years and get a picture through the eyes of Emuna of what G-d is trying to tell you. Keep in mind the above Emuna principles that everything is from G-d, for the good, and designed to get you closer to Him. Think about the pattern and pray to get clarity on where to go from here. This will be your aspect of “Getting to know G-d/”

 

Secondly, in an effort to “Know G-d” pick an area of your life and learn what the Torah says about it. Great topics include, family purity, charity or visiting the sick. Try applying what the Torah teaches about these wonderful areas.

 

Our blessings for your continued success!





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