11 Shvat 5781 / Sunday, January 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
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Dr. Emuna: Emuna in Real Time    

Dr. Emuna: Emuna in Real Time

Although it’s important to accept the past with emuna, how do you deal with problems in real time according to emuna, to maintain an even keel in the most stressful situations?


In a class last week, Rabbi Arush was literally screaming at the top of his lungs, “You must LIVE your emuna! You must put emuna into your life!” over and over again. 


He must have been screaming at me. 


All I know, is that suddenly Sunday morning, I finally got what Rabbi Arush was talking about. 



The Parrot Learns a Lesson  

People often look at me, and think that I am something special. Baruch Hashem, thank you Hashem, I answer a lot of people’s questions on emuna, how to apply Rabbi Arush’s teachings to their situation, and much more. And it’s true, that I am blessed to not only have been learning Rabbi Arush’s teachings for a little more than 14 years (has it really been that long?), and for better or worse, I’ve applied those teachings to a wide array of life experiences already – and I’ve personally experienced the results. But don’t get confused – I am only a parrot. I am just like you – with faults, failings, bad character traits, lusts and even confusions in emuna. 


So, here is a perfect example. Really, it’s a bit of an embarrassment – so many years I have been learning emuna, and I only just finally got this point yesterday. 



Emuna in Real-Time 

For the last few weeks I have been dealing with a messy situation as sometimes unfortunately happens in older apartment buildings. As usual, I am eternally grateful to Rabbi Arush for teaching me what to do in such a situation – pray for peace between all the parties, recognize that the end result will be determined by Hashem and for my best, etc. I was out in the park doing personal prayer, asking Hashem to enable me to accept the situation with emuna, to be firm in my stance but without yelling or losing my temper at people refusing to listen to common sense, and to not have any anger or hard feelings between the parties at the end of the day. 


But I was worried. By nature, I am a very strong, emphatic, and emotionally charged person. This trait is part of what makes me such a good speaker, and able to give over Rabbi Arush’s classes with emotion and inspire others to strengthen their emuna and learn Rabbi Arush’s teachings. The problem is, that the flip side of that same character trait, is that I can easily overwhelm people I am speaking to with that same overabundant energy and charge, and people get hurt, thinking that I am upset at them when I don’t really mean to. And let’s face it, sometimes I really do break down and just get upset and start yelling. In general, it’s something that I pray about every day, but in this situation, the need to keep an even keel was beyond even the normal top-priority. 


Suddenly, Hashem helped me to understand how to apply the  emuna  that  ein  od  milvado –  Hashem does everything and decides everything – in real time. This is something that until that moment, I still didn’t know how to do!  


As hard as it is to accept everything with emuna after the fact – that was something that I could overcome. If it takes me an hour to get myself together, or a day, or a week – eventually, I pray myself into the serenity of knowing that I just need to “let go and let God” as they say. I can’t change it – so my only choice is to accept it with emuna and love, or not accept it, and wallow in anger, despair and a host of other negative emotions, and essentially put myself into Hell with my own lack of emuna. I may not like it, but I am forced to choose emuna because the alternative is just not really an alternative. Emuna isn’t just the truth, but it’s also the practical, fast-track to emotional and physical health and well-being.  


My problem was living that emuna in real time – in the middle of the debates, in the middle of the difficulties. And suddenly – Hashem helped me get it! How do you not get angry when the person is spewing ridiculousness back at you? How do you not lose it at gross incompetence? Or whatever else you are facing? It’s nice to know you’re not supposed to, but how do you actually, really, manage to take it all with emuna? 


I am going to tell you the answer, and I am going to warn you – it’s going to sound stupid! Like duh, we all know that! But I’m telling you – the key is to try it for yourself, and see just how much we do not actually live this simple and obvious reality – and how much we need to pray to remember to live according to this truth. 


The solution is – Not to see the person at all – and only see Hashem!  Shiviti  H’  l’negdi  tamid  I place Hashem before me always.  


That means, that not only do you accept the situation after the fact, but in real time – you don’t even let yourself think that you’re talking with that person! Because truly, you are talking to Hashem. So sure, say your peace, make your point, whatever. But then whatever comes back at you  have the emuna that Hashem is putting it into their mouth, Hashem is putting it into their head. What’s the point of fighting with them? It’s really fighting with Hashem! And if you feel that you need to repeat yourself, with this understanding – you’ll be able to stand your ground even 100 times without losing your temper, because you recognize that ultimately, Hashem is the one calling the shots, and not that person. And you’ll be able to continue to see that person in a good light and treat them with respect, because even if they are making a mistake in your mind – Hashem did that, for a good purpose. What use is there screaming at Hashem to change His mind? 


The end of the story is at the big meeting a few hours later, after spending the rest of my hitbodedut time asking Hashem to actually DO what He had just helped me understand – I was totally calm. I reminded myself before the meeting: “Ein od  milvado,  Hashem  is before me always – don’t see the people, see Hashem!”  


Hence, not only was I already calm when everything was said and done without needing to decompress and “return to emuna” afterwards, but it was actually EASY for me to remain calm, and in emuna mode” in real-time. I did not freak out when some of the involved parties said things that were totally out of left-field, and one person even did a total about-face in his opinion which swung the entire situation not in my favor.  


Only afterwards did I process the magnitude of the test I faced, and how I passed it without almost even noticing…  



Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far-off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel.  

Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il. 

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