11 Tamuz 5781 / Monday, June 21, 2021 | Torah Reading: Balak
 
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Emunalogy



Actually, the finite body is a mere metaphor of the infinite soul. In that case, could there be such an entity as a spiritual immune system that guards the health of the soul?

 



The Torah tells us that man was created in the Divine image. We learn from the Zohar that the human soul is a tiny spark of G-dliness. With these two facts in mind, the finite body is a mere metaphor of the infinite soul. What's more, just has the body has 613 parts, the soul has 613 corresponding “lights” that in turn correspond to the 613 mitzvoth of the Torah. Just as we understand virtually nothing about the essence of G-d, we understand little about our own souls, which are sparks of His very essence.

 

The body has an immune system that protects it from disease and dangerous attacking organisms. Knowing that the body is a metaphor for the soul and that the soul has corresponding spiritual apparatus to the body's apparatus, could there be such an entity as a spiritual immune system that guards the health of the soul?

 

Hashem in His vast mercy has shown me unequivocally that there is.

 

The same dream recurred three times in a row – on Friday morning, Shabbat morning and Sunday morning at the exact same time, right before daybreak. I saw the two words “immune” and “emuna”, first in English, floating in outer space and gently melding with each other. Then I saw both words written in Hebrew letters, also floating in outer space and gently melding with each other. Written in Hebrew, the two words have four common letters – aleph, mem, vav and nun, emun, which means “worthy of trust” or “dependable”. The word immune has an additional yud, while the word emuna has an additional hey. The yud and the hey together form Hashem's Name. As such, when the two words “immune” and “emuna” melded into one, I saw the message emun Yud-Hey, which means you can depend on Hashem. The dream was telling me that emuna is the soul's system of protecting itself, just as the body has the immune system. Amazingly, the two words even sound alike.

 

We're not finished yet: on Shabbat morning, I opened Rabbi Yaacov Meir Schechter's book, Osef Amarim, Emuna V'Tefilla, to page 183. There, Rabbi Schechter shlit'a, one of Breslev's leading rabbis and one of the foremost Ashkenazi Kabbalists in this generation, asks how it is possible to rid oneself of negative thoughts and the threatening evil spiritual forces that surround a person in this lowly physical world. Answering his own question, Rabbi Schechter explains that there is only one way for a person to protect himself: he must cry out with all his might to Hashem with fierce desire and beg for pure and complete emuna. By way of emuna, the soul is protected from the worst negative thoughts, including heresy. Rabbi Schechter warns not to engage in “hand-to-hand” combat with the evil inclination; don't debate it and don't listen to its false claims. Run to Hashem, for the only entity that can protect the soul is pure and complete emuna. In the meanwhile, before we have acquired emuna, yelling out to Hashem while yearning and begging for emuna will protect us, for the desire for emuna is in itself strong. “Don't let up,” writes Rabbi Schechter, “continue to yearn for and desire emuna.” So here we have it – emuna is truly the soul's mechanism for protecting itself against all harm.

 

If that wasn't enough, the next morning when I began a new week at work, my first task was to translate Rav Shalom Arush's CD, “Emuna and Desire”. In addition to saying the same things that Rabbi Schechter wrote in his book, Rav Arush added that any problems in a person's life – both physical and spiritual – stem from a lack of emuna. In Rav Shalom's own words, "A person's ultimate purpose on earth is to learn and acquire emuna. Therefore, all of a person's troubles, tribulations and deficiencies are all for the good, to help him earn emuna and get to know Hashem. As such, all of one's problems and difficulties in life stem from a lack of emuna – everything that doesn't go his way, challenges in health, marriage and income and everything else from small to large, whether material or spiritual – it's all from a lack of emuna! So, no matter what happens in your life, whether difficulty or deficiency, pray for emuna! You're not lacking income, you're lacking emuna! You're not lacking a soulmate, you're lacking emuna! You don't lack a single thing except emuna. Beg the Creator to give you complete emuna. Don't give up – ask Hashem for complete emuna!"

 

With emuna, a person is immune to the damages and negativity of the evil inclination. As such, emuna is the soul's power of immunity to negative emotions. Emuna fights off sadness, depression, frustration, worry and disappointment. Just as we study immunology for the body, we'd be best advised to study emunalogy for the soul; that way, we're always happy, just as Rebbe Nachman told us to be.

 

 





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