This is it. The entire crux of this blog can be encapsulated by this. It is what sparked Ben and I to create this outlet. It is the journey we are all on… Or at the very least the journey I am on. But without sounding presumptuous, I do think this is what it’s all about for many, if not most of us.
How do we go from simply believing and having faith… to deep Emuna and then to a true and unshakeable Bitachon?
Everything we do, everything we study and learn seems to come down to this, and perhaps we have to give in to the idea that this is a lifelong journey… a path we will and must always be on. It is the ladder we climb, and the key is to never let go. There are days we move up… days we move down… but do not ever let go of the rungs.
The discussion that Ben hit on in the last post… and that I have hit on in previous posts, requires more attention and dialogue… And I ask you, our wonderful readers, to chime in and continue to send notes, questions, etc. This blog is for all of us, to help grow and challenge ourselves.
Rabbis and friends keep telling me, “You’ll get there.” I take great heart in that.
James Taylor sings “It’s enough to be on your way It’s enough just to cover ground. It’s enough to be moving on.”
I take comfort in that.
For I am somewhere between faith and Emuna, with the very strong desire… the need, to reach Bitachon. I mean, isn’t that what we all want? Some of the traits that Ben mentioned, that Rabbi Denbo discusses and teaches, of which he learned from Rabbi Noah Weinberg, in blessed memory… are things that would save all of us… that would save the world…
Gratitude, tranquility, life without stress…
Being able to have things truly roll of our backs… to be zen like (to use another group’s word)…
It is that holiness and calm that I felt when I was in Jerusalem. It is what I think Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld meant when he told us to bring the Kotel back to LA… to our everyday lives. To have that image in our minds, those feelings in our hearts… and the desire to learn and grow burning in our soul… a warm, gentle flame that is never extinguished.
This is the beauty of Judaism… that we NEVER stop learning. We continually strive for knowledge and understanding. We question and seek and search out answers and ideas and philosophies, all with the mutual desire to become better human beings.
We keep Shabbat, or a learning to. We read the Tanach (Tanakh), or are in the middle of it… We are learning the prayers, using our Siddur as a workbook (Thanks for that notion, Jonah!!!) We study Pirkei Avos (Avot) and Kabbalah and whatever else give us that juice, that spark.
I have had that calm, that “Kotel Feeling” a few times since I have been back… and when it hits, it is amazing… It makes its way into your body… into your breath… into your brain.
It allows you to walk through life, walk through the world, totally aware of Hashem… at ease and comfort with him. It is joyous and powerful and blissful. It is a revelation, an opening of the eyes and the heart.
So simple, right? But life has a funny way of challenging and provoking… and there are many things, both large and small, that attempt to move us off the path.
I know I am much further along than I have ever been… I wrap Tefillin and pray every day. I am totally aware of Hashem… and less than a year ago, I probably could not have said that with as much conviction and depth of understanding. But when I look up and see the distance in front of me… see the end goal, it can be daunting and enough to set me astray.
There is a passage in Rabbi Shalom Arush’s Garden of Emunah that I often use along with my morning prayers. In it says that most of our issues come about because our lack of Emuna. That is a tough one to hear… and take in and process… And in fact there are many things in this book I question and take issue with… but that is another story.
We are taught that Hashem is in control and that we are not. We have to give ourselves up to this. Not always easy, especially when one has a healthy ego and wants to make a difference in the world on their own.
And not easy when one feels overwhelmed.
In the past few weeks I lost my Grandmother, had a very close cousin diagnosed with papillary cancer, had the AC unit go out and have to be replaced at a cost of 5K… had the IRS tell me my accountant made a mistake that is going to cost thousands of dollars along with interest being charged, have the computer I am writing this on crash daily, at least five times a day… which caused me to lose a good portion of this post… and on and on… Big things and small things… a whole lot of things!
My head is literally spinning. I am grabbing for something secure. And yes, I am questioning why these things are happening to me. But… BUT… I no longer shout up to the heavens… I no longer blame Hashem for my woes… yes, I used to do that…
However… I still question… and thus I know I am still a far, far way from Bitachon… and a far way from true Emuna.
My daily prayers… my weekly studies and this blog are what keeps me on the path, and so I thank you for being part of the journey. Here’s to getting to those seven traits as soon as possible!