26 Av 5781 / Wednesday, August 04, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Additional Ways of Building Emuna    

Additional Ways of Building Emuna

When a person feels like he or she is clouded in darkness, and they have difficulty feeling Hashem's Presence, then they should speak words of...


We are learning how to build our emuna. In the previous excerpt we have illustrated the vital benefit of being in constant dialogue with HaShem by thanking and asking for all of our needs – from the material to the spiritual. This way we constantly reinforce the truth that it is HaShem alone who provides for all of our needs and no one else, including ourselves!
Crying Out to Hashem
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches (Rebbe Nachman's Discourses, 146) that when a person lacks emuna, he or she should cry out to Hashem. Such a cry doesn't have to be audible at all; a silent cry from deep down in the heart is very good. The fact that one cries out to Hashem is proof of the spark of emuna in their midst, for without that spark, they wouldn't cry out at all. The spark in turn becomes a glowing flame of emuna.
Speaking Words of Emuna
One can recover from a breakdown of emuna by speaking words of emuna. When a person feels like he or she is clouded in darkness, and they have difficulty feeling Hashem's Presence, then they should speak words of emuna out loud, such as: "I believe in Hashem, that He's the One and Only God, and He protects me and watches over me every minute of the day my entire life, and He always listens to my prayers. Hashem loves me and cares about me."
One should continue to speak words of emuna in whatever area one needs help, as follows: "I believe that Hashem sustains all His creations. He will surely send me my livelihood;" or, "I believe that Hashem is the physician of all flesh. He will surely send me a cure." Before an important exam or negotiation, one enhances chances of success by saying, "I believe that success comes from Hashem. I've done my best to prepare, please Hashem, help me succeed!"
By speaking words of emuna, we arouse the spark of emuna within us, which kindles a bright flame of emuna that not only warms the soul and illuminates the darkness within us, but invokes Divine compassion.
As speaking words of emuna does wonders for the soul, one should consequently be careful to avoid saying anything that contains the slightest hint of heresy, even in a joke. Words of heresy or agnosticism extinguish the spark of emuna and render a person's soul cold and dark, Heaven forbid.
Self Evaluation
By evaluating oneself every day, a person is reminded of his or relationship with Hashem. During the "self trial" session, a person judges his or her own actions, and evaluates whether or not they have been in congruence with Hashem's Will.
Four wonderful things happen when we judge ourselves on a daily basis:
1. We remind ourselves of Hashem and His commandments;
2. We make decisions to correct what needs correcting, and therefore don't accrue spiritual debts that lead to stern judgments;
3. Since Hashem doesn't allow double jeopardy, when we judge ourselves, the Heavenly court is not allowed to judge us.
4. Daily self-evaluation reminds us that there is a Creator in the world; when we contemplate whether our actions are in accordance with His Will, we contemplate Him. By thinking of Hashem, we enhance emuna.
Avoid Reading Philosophy Books and Works of Heresy
We have often compared emuna to a flame or flickering candle in the heart. Emuna is difficult to acquire but simple to destroy. Emuna also resembles a fine crystal chandelier hand-crafted in months of tedious work. Yet, with one shove of the elbow, the chandelier can be pushed off the artisan's work table, and in the shortest moment, shatters into a million tiny slivers.
An old Jewish expression says that a fool throws a stone in the well that a hundred wise men can't remove. The power of the written word, especially the heretical written word, is that it penetrates the heart faster than a swift sword to destroy emuna.
When a person turns to philosophy or investigative books to search for logical arguments and proof of Hashem's existence, the result is confusion and an eventual breakdown of emuna. When our emuna is dependant on the strength of our intellect, then we are dangerously exposed to thoughts and opinions of those who know how to present stronger arguments than we do, and our emuna is liable to be destroyed, God forbid. For that reason, the way of true Jewish emuna is the way of our forefathers – the simple and uncomplicated belief in Hashem that has passed down in an unbroken chain from Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yaakov (Jacob) to us.
We should avoid heretical input in every possible way – not only by avoid reading books that weaken emuna, but by avoiding radio, television, Internet, and newspapers that are programmed and published by those who spread agnostic and atheistic views and ideas. If we would compare heretical input to intellectually non-kosher food, then we should note that forbidden thoughts enter the ears, heart, eyes, and brain much faster than forbidden food enters the body.

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