12/26/2014 – What is Emunah?
My soul brother in Jerusalem, Rav Dror Moshe Cassouto, has dedicated his life to sharing the rare honest pure Emunah principals of Rebbe Nachman. In addition to hundreds of some of the most powerful and transformative video classes I’ve ever seen relating to and dealing with all aspects of life, the following description of Emunah appears on his website, http://www.emunahchannel.com
Emunah: Generally translated as faith.
We’re used to thinking of faith as a strategy for people who can’t think for themselves. “The fool believes everything,” Solomon writes, “the wise man understands.” Emunah, however, is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason. Quite the contrary, wisdom, understanding and knowledge can further enhance true emunah.
Nevertheless, emunah is not based on reason. Reason can never attain the certainty of emunah, since, reasonably speaking, a greater reasoning might always come along and prove your reasons wrong. In this way, emunah is similar to seeing first hand: Reason can help you better understand what you see, but it will have a hard time convincing you that you never saw it. So too, emunah endures even when reason can’t catch up.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught: “…In the world at large, faith is considered to be a small matter. But, by me, faith is a very great thing.” (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, #33)
What does this mean to me? When people talk about cultivating simple and straightforward faith, most make light of it—as if it is too minor a thing to take seriously or respect, or aspire to. Yet Rebbe Nachman placed a very great emphasis throughout his writings and teachings on the importance of building within ourselves a strong faith that is unburdened by the trappings of pseudo-intellectualism and philosophical speculation.
Avoiding what Rebbe Nachman called chochmot — intellectual constructs that are artificial and place us at a distance from God—is an important part of his pathway. This doesn’t mean that we abandon asking questions or that we do not exercise our minds; what it does is remove the taint of doubt from the question so that it becomes a simple expression of our longing to understand God’s truth.
Emunah is a gift that must be nurtured and developed like a muscle. We must become defenders of this most important gift.
We must practice the art of emunah until it becomes our craft – our nature. Emunah grows deeper as we accustom ourselves to experience the phenomena of life as expressions of the Source manifesting its presence and love.
There is no greater joy than seeing your children work on and express their emunah. This was captured for me in a secret note I found earlier this year in my son (Gal Zohar’s) bed.