4 Tamuz 5781 / Monday, June 14, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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Emuna - Always    

Emuna - Always

"I was still holding the bananas and lettuce in my hand," Sara later told me. "I couldn't get over how Hashem had arranged it that I would have...


"I was still holding the bananas and lettuce in my hand," Sara later told me. "I couldn't get over how Hashem had arranged it that I would have the natural antidote right there, waiting for me."
"When you have faith, every day is filled with good. When things go well, it is certainly good. But even if things go wrong and you suffer, this is also good. For you trust that God will have mercy and will eventually send good. Everything must be good, because everything comes from God.
A person who lacks faith is not truly alive, because as soon as something bad happens he gives up all hope. He has no way to comfort himself because, having no faith, he has placed himself outside God's providence and therefore, for him, there is no good at all.
If you have faith, you will have a good and beautiful life". (Sichot Haran #53)
A friend of mine has a blood condition that causes her blood to coagulate, and takes Coumadin, a blood thinner, to prevent life-threatening complications. However, just as clotting can be life-threatening, a lack of clotting can lead to massive bleeding, which is also life-threatening. Therefore, my friend, let's call her Sara, regularly has her blood tested to make sure that the two components are properly balanced.
Every Monday morning on her way to work, Sara stops in at the laboratory for her weekly blood test. Every Monday afternoon, she calls the lab to make sure that her blood components are balanced. She has kept up this routine for years, without ever encountering any difficulties.
Last Monday, as usual, Sara stopped in at the lab for her weekly blood test. That afternoon, she was feeling more tired than usual, and decided that instead of returning home and going out again to buy vegetables at the shuk (marketplace), she would pop into the local grocery store to purchase the vegetables she needed for supper. But there was nothing available except bananas and lettuce. Sara bought a package of lettuce and a bunch of bananas and returned home.
The phone rang even before Sara had a chance to put her things down. It was her doctor. The blood test showed that Sara's blood was dangerously thin and that she might need to be hospitalized. "But before you do anything," the doctor told her, "eat some bananas and lettuce. They are rich in the vitamins you need to counteract the blood thinner."
"I was still holding the bananas and lettuce in my hand," Sara later told me. "I couldn't get over how Hashem had arranged it that I would have the natural antidote right there, waiting for me."
Amazing, no? A story of true hashgacha pratit, Divine Providence. How can we not have emuna when we see Hashem's hand so clearly?
Now, let me tell you another story. Although Miriam (not her real name) was doing everything "right," she had yet to find Mr. Right. She felt that she was really ready to get married and begin building her private "Mikdash me'at" but as much as she tried (and she really did try!) it just didn't seem to go. She had met so many boys that she couldn't even count them. But every time she liked the boy, he didn't like her. And if he liked her, she couldn't stand him!
Miriam had traveled several times to Amuka, the gravesite of the famous Tannai, Yonatan ben Uziel, who is said to personally intercede on behalf of singles looking to get married. She had poured out her heart in prayer, and hoped against hopes that a miracle would occur and she would find Mr. Right standing and waiting for her as she exited the lady's section.
On one of her trips, the miracle did occur. She prayed at the gravesite, and left with a strange feeling that this time, something out of the ordinary was about to happen.
No, Mr. Right was not waiting for her as she exited the ladies' section. Miriam was disappointed, but of course she didn't show her disappointment. Instead, she walked to the parking lot, got into her car, and started driving back to her home in Jerusalem.
Miriam's car broke down on the highway between Chatzor and Tsfat. Before Miriam even had a chance to get out and see what the problem was, the car behind her pulled over and a very tall and very handsome religious young man came out to ask her if she needed assistance.
To make a long story short, Miriam and Shlomo, the young man who had stopped to help her, had a lot in common. They had both grown up on the West Coast, they were both from non-religious homes, they both wanted to remain in Eretz Yisrael, and they both loved Torah! It was a perfect match. Two weeks later, they were engaged, three months after that, they were married. Nine months later, they were divorced.
Huh? I thought this was a frum Website! Where's the Divine Providence? Where's the emuna?
Yes, you're right. Stories of hashgacha pratit, Divine providence, strengthen our emuna, Torah Codes strengthen our emuna, miracle stories strengthen our emuna; but woe to us if our emuna is based on these things.
There is a famous story about a Jewish woman who lived at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Although I cannot remember all the details, I do remember that together with the entire Jewish community, she was forced to leave Spain and search for a country willing to accept her. She underwent incredible trials and tribulations, as one by one she lost every member of her family. Finally, after burying her youngest child, she turned toward Hashem and cried, "No matter what happens, I will continue to believe in You! Nothing will stop me from believing in You!"
Hashem is there, with us, even when things do not go "right." He's there when everything is wrong, or at least appears to be wrong. Since we only see a tiny, finite segment of the entire picture, it's impossible for us to understand what's really going on. Although, on occasion, we are privileged to "Divine glimpses" -- glimmerings of understanding – they are just an added perk, so to speak. It's nice, it strengthens our knowledge that Hashem is running the show, but if we base our knowledge on that, we are climbing a very slippery slope indeed.
Yes, we should do everything possible to strengthen our emuna. We should look for the Heavenly hand in everything that's going on around us. But even when we can't see the hashgacha pratit, the Divine Providence, we know that it's there, and that it is our scope of vision that is limited. We have tunnel vision, it's impossible for us to see the entire picture. God willing, may the time come soon that the entire world – including us! – becomes aware of His all-pervading Glory.  

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