13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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You Better Believe It!    

You Better Believe It!

“Seriously?'' the evil inclination asks, “You really believe in miracles and that God listens to your prayers? Hahaha...don't forget to put your tooth under your pillow...”


Everyone has trust issues in one form or another. Or they have abandonment issues or insecure attachment issues or various other kinds of emotional challenges. No one grew up in the perfect home or the perfect environment. As children we had our core beliefs broken in some way or another. It might have been that a long-awaited present or event was a letdown, people who were supposed to be kind weren't, or that school turned out to be boring a lot of the time. Maybe a friend betrayed us, parents punished us unfairly, teachers were impatient and the tooth fairy was a hoax. We learned that people weren't always honest and things were not always as advertised. We learned to be cautious and we lost our innocence. Some people lost trust in God.


When I was little I went to Sunday school, as many secular Jewish kids did. There I was taught about Noah and the ark. I liked that story and it was fun coloring in the pictures of animal pairs. I don't know why my parents stopped taking me to Sunday school; maybe the ride into Washington D.C. from Scaggsville was too tiring for my Dad. But I never forgot that story about Noah's ark. I believed it really happened; why would I doubt my teacher? I had no doubt there was a God, although I didn't know Him well.


But by the time I was a teenager I knew that bible stories were bunk, especially the story of the splitting of the sea. I knew that the ten plagues never really happened; it was a folk legend. For many years I just went along with the Pesach Seder, reading the Haggadah with a bemused tolerance for our Jewish tradition. I thought it was pretty corny and no one else munching the matza seemed to feel any different.


When I finally made it to Israel (talk about leaving Egypt), I discovered to my delight that Noah's ark was a fact. I regained my childhood belief in God and was able to enjoy the richness and vastness of Judaism. I felt young again and experienced a certain inner purity. I was rediscovering my soul! I was a believer!


And yet there still lingered inside me a skeptic who snickered at the idea of me being holy. Of me being good. Of me being so naive! Of me being above all, a soul.


I've come a long way since then but I'll never be completely out of the woods.


Inside all of us lurks a cool, caustic voice, the old peanut gallery if you will.


“Seriously?' it asks, “You really believe that God listens to your prayers, that you can change and that miracles can happen to you? hahahahahahahahahaha...don't forget to put your tooth under your pillow.”


As a famous surgeon once claimed, “I have cut open hundreds of people and I have never seen a soul.”


Well, all I can say is “No bird, Ethel.” which is Scaggsville for “Duh!”


Religious Jews place their right hand over their eyes when reciting the Shema because we know we can't see God but we believe in Him nevertheless. We also can't see souls or angels or demons or the Throne of Glory. There are many things that we can't see and don't understand but we believe in them anyway.


Anyone who is searching for his soul will find it. We can have 100% trust in God, in the Torah and the World to Come (it won't be a letdown).


Our Conductor is the Great and Powerful God and our souls are the instruments of His master plan. In God we trust. Money back guarantee. Under your pillow.



* * *

Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen is a certified Emuna Therapist for Breslev Israel. You can set up an appointment with her by contacting staff@breslev.co.il 

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