14 Shvat 5779 / Sunday, January 20, 2019 | Torah Reading: Yitro
 
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The Emuna Pause    

The Emuna Pause



Without emuna, our minds launch into what I call the overthinking, over-analyzing, overly-judgmental mode which takes us further away from being able to deal with the situation…

 



Suppose that you have a teenage son who is going through a very selfish and self-centered stage. Suppose it's right before a festival and you have a million and one things to do to get ready for the holiday. What's more, your spouse is out of the country, and you've got all the responsibility of looking after the kids, on top of everything else you are trying to get done.

 

Now this son, who hasn't lifted a finger to help you out the last few days, or even to just pick up after himself, comes to you, and tells you that he really wants a new pair of pants for the holiday. Your blood starts to boil, and you start thinking to yourself: "I gotta teach this kid a lesson! I have to make him into a mensch! I have a parental responsibility to point a few things out to him…"

 

But let’s take an Emuna-Pause for a moment…

 

Let's now analyze what's really going on, here. Candidly, we're stressed out, and we're just looking for some justification for acting like an animal and letting this kid have it. So, while we've pressed Emuna-Pause button on the self-righteous rage attack for a moment, let's take the opportunity to think about what G-d really wants us to be working on right now.

 

Remember, that it's now Chanukah season, the Jewish festival of Lights. What's really important, now is to remember all of the incredible miracles that Hashem does for me all year round and to work on my tolerance and patience, and to turn away from strife.

 

G-d is giving me an opportunity to show Him that I'm serious about working on these things, by setting up the perfect situation for me to give love at a time when I don’t really feel like giving it. Kids are just kids. We can't forget that. We also can't forget that once, we were also kids - and most of us still are.

 

The Emuna-Pause is our first defense against the Evil Inclination who wants us to put intellect before emuna and start thinking about all of the reasons why our kids deserve to be judged harshly and disciplined strongly. Maybe the Evil Inclination will take you back to your own childhood and show you a picture of how harsh one of your own parents was with you. Then he’ll tell you: “Look at how you were treated. Is it fair that your son/daughter should get away with behavior that you paid for with being yelled or having had to suffer a beating?” Sounds logical doesn’t it?

 

When you’re emotionally aroused it’s impossible to fight this kind of “logic” without emuna. Without emuna, our minds launch into what I call the overthinking, over-analyzing, overly-judgmental mode which takes us further away from being able to deal with the situation in the right way. The key to not falling prey to the Evil Inclination starts with the Emuna Pause. It’s a quick easy momentary pause that you give to yourself. It’s as simple as taking one single deep breath and asking your Emuna for a better perspective with which to view the situation. Then you take one more second to thank Hashem for giving you a better perspective. And, if you don’t yet see why the situation is for your benefit, thank Hashem for at least reminding you that there is a better way of looking at the situation even if you don’t know what it is yet.

 

 

* * *

We invite you to visit Dr. Zev Ballen's popular daily web journal Spiritual Coaching.





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