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וידעת היום והשבות אל לבבך כי ד' הוא האלקים ... אין עוד

You shall know this day and take to your heart that Hashem He is our G-d … there is none other. (4:39)

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We know (and understand) so many things intellectually, but do not take them to heart to the point that they guide and control our demeanor.  The above pasuk exhorts us to believe in Hashem, to have emunah, faith, in the Almighty.  Faith means trust. Trust means that one does not question, which, by its very nature, implies his lack of trust.  The pasuk implies that our faith in Hashem must be such that we know that He is our G-d.  This does not seem consistent with the term emunah, belief/faith, which is a prelude to knowledge.  One who knows does not require belief, since he knows.  How do we reconcile these two terms in the context of our relationship with Hashem?  The mitzvah should be called yediah, knowledge, since this is what the Torah expects of us: to know Hashem (and incorporate this knowledge into the way we behave).

The Brisker Rav, zl, once asked his father, Horav Chaim Soloveitchik, zl, why the mitzvah of emunah is called by that name.  Does one not know that Hashem is in control of everything in the world?  One would have to be totally without his faculties to deny or even ignore this reality.  Any person with a modicum of intelligence knows that the level of wisdom inherent in creating and guiding this world from Creation throughout history is beyond the scope of our cognitive ability.  Certainly, a G-d exists!    It is not conjecture.  It is not a theory; it is a dogmatic reality.

Rav Chaim explained that two concepts are working together in tandem, one taking over when the other reaches its limit.  This means: We have clear intellectual acceptance that the Ribono Shel Olam created and directs every aspect of our world.  When one’s cognition achieves its limit, however, emunah, faith, kicks in.  Certain occurrences defy our ability to rationalize, producing questions such as: What preceded our world? Why did Hashem create the world when He did?  Once we know that a Creator exists, we are then obliged to believe in Him.  Where seichel — understanding and common sense — end, emunah begins.  Sadly, some people still cannot grasp the notion that their finite, limited minds cannot understand the concept of infinity, an infinite G-d in an infinite world, not bound by time and space.

Veritably, adds Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, living in such times as we are, in the midst of galus, exile, surrounded by tzaros, troubles, and hester panim, Divine concealment, one must have emunah to survive emotionally.  We have no other way to live.  One who merits emunah and lives a life of bitachon, trust, in Hashem is availed the opportunity to live a life of peaceful serenity.  He knows that whatever happens, whatever he experiences, is Hashem’s edict, which is good, even if he does not understand the “why.”  Kavei el Hashem, chazak v’yaametz libecha v’kavei el Hashem, “Hope to Hashem, strengthen yourself and He will give you courage; and hope to Hashem” (Tehillim 18:32).  The gist of the pasuk is to never give up hope.  If at first one does not succeed, i.e. receive an “answer,” he should try again.  One should continue praying and hoping.  The Brisker Rav explains the pasuk as providing a sequence.  First, one is supposed to kavei el Hashem, focus his hopes on Hashem.  Once he has sincerely projected all of his hope on the Almighty, then he will merit that Hashem will strengthen his heart, so that he will continue focusing his hopes on Hashem.  Thus, he will never have worries, because he has “hoped,” developed a trust in Hashem.  We must initiate hope; afterwards, Hashem will do the rest and give us the ability to continue our undivided trust in Him.  One who is one with Hashem has no worries.

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