A Life of Emunah: Turning ‘Anxiety’ into Blessing

Firstly, I want to start off by thanking my Rebbe; Rav Lazer Brody, whom without all his teachings and personal advice, this article would not have come about. Ever since I began attending Rav Brody’s weekly classes my life has changed dramatically. If there’s one part of my life in which I’ve seen the greatest difference, it’s in the area of Emunah — my belief and trust in Hashem that everything He does is for my absolute best. No matter what happens, whether for good or bad, one must always look up towards Hashem and say “thank you.” No matter what happens in life, don’t forget to thank Hashem. Unfortunately, there are מקטרגים (prosecutors) that thwart our prayers from getting up to Hashem in Heaven, but on the other hand, there is NOBODY that can stop an expression of gratitude from reaching Him.

Many people are confused as to why “bad” things happen to them. “Doesn’t Judiasm claim that Hashem is a passionate infinite being who always has my best interests in mind?” Why then does it seem like He’s abusing me? Why is it that there’s not a day which goes by that we aren’t troubled by something? One day someone misses the bus, the next day he’ll break his leg, a week later he’ll get into an argument with his wife, shortly after he’ll get fired from his job, the list is endless. He feels as if his life is a never ending cycle of terrible events. But why? If the sole purpose of being created is so that we can get the ultimate pleasure, and the ultimate pleasure as we know is to connect to Hashem, then why in the world would Hashem make it so difficult? Imagine you wanted your 40 watt lightbulb to shine brighter, so instead of receiving your power from transformers and converters, you decide to get it directly from the electrical plant without any interferences. The second you turn that switch on you can wish your house goodbye. Instead of receiving 40 watts, chances are you’ll receive something around 40 thousand watts if not more, enough to blow your house into pieces. Hashems light is way too bright for us. For this reason, Hashem must filter down the intensity in which His light can be delivered to this world.

Going back to the day person A broke his leg; why didn’t he stop to think if there was anything he could’ve possibly done wrong to cause it? He was so quick to blame Hashem without even taking a second to analyze if there could’ve been anything he did to cause it. Perhaps he should’ve thought as follows: “I transgressed something in which I was liable for the death penalty, but instead of killing me, Hashem begged and pleaded with the heavenly courts to minimize my punishment. Finally, He was able to compromise with them on my behalf in order that they minimize my punishment by having me break my leg and nothing more.” If only he would’ve thought about it this way, the entire situation could’ve been different. He would’ve realized that Hashem was only looking out for him, and the only reason Hashem punished him in the first place was to give him a wake up call. This guy didn’t even bother to think twice about whether or not he had transgressed Hashems word, let alone do repentance for it, and yet Hashem pleaded on his behalf to minimize the punishment. Your outlook on life can make a world of a difference. Hashem doesn’t want to hurt you, He just wants a relationship with you.

This past summer, something terrible happened to me which I didn’t really think too much about when it occurred. I kept pushing it off, denying that it ever happened. However, a few weeks after the incident occurred, I had been thinking back as to what had happened and asked myself “how could Hashem ever allow this to happen to me?” Now, almost a year later, I realize that I probably wouldn’t be religious today if this event weren’t to have occurred, as it would’ve led to a downward religious spiral from there on out. I never imagined how this incident could have been beneficial to me, but looking back now, I realize it was Hashems way of sending a very strong message that with His help, I will never forget, and that will continue to change my outlook on life forever.

When faced with an extremely tough situation which you can’t quite comprehend, always remember that He’s right there with you during the challenging times, and that everything He does is with complete divine compassion. By doing so, you invoke His divine compassion upon yourself without even praying for it. King David says in Psalm “Though I walk in the valley of death, I do not fear, because you (Hashem) are with me.” As long as a person and Hashem are one, he or she is saved from all problematic and troublesome occurrences or situations which otherwise would’ve left them totally discombobulated.

Always remember that when anyone does you a favor, you should say thank you and be grateful for what they’ve done. However, if someone does something to hurt you, one should look directly towards Hashem and say “thank you Hashem.” Realize that whoever did such and such to you was merely a stick in the hand of the Creator. Hashem only had so and so do something to you as a wake up call because Hashem wants a deeper and more meaningful relationship with you. One must remember that when someone or something hurts him, he can’t deny the pain. He should instead acknowledge that the pain is there, but instead of finding people or circumstances to blame, he must understand that it’s from Hashem and He only sent it as a wake up call. The only reason Hashem allows us to suffer is so that we are aroused and want to call out to our father in Heaven, whereas if we had everything we ever wanted without ever asking for it, we wouldn’t feel the need to call out to Him. Hashem always wants to help, but first He wants us to put in our effort and reach out to Him. Remember, that no matter how much you want for yourself in life, it is still not even one iota of what Hashem wants for you.

Stress and anxiety are signs that we need to strengthen our Emunah. Don’t ignore Hashems wake up calls. They only get louder. When dealing with difficulties, the most intelligent spiritual way to go about dealing with them is as follows: Take the most painful issue you have in life and say “You Hashem, do everything for my good and only for my good. Even though I may not understand how or why certain things happen, I know you only have my best intentions in mind. You are a loving father who only wants what’s good for me.” When a person doesn’t believe that everything comes from Hashem and that not everything He does is for ones absolute best, He invokes even more strict judgement upon himself. A life with Emunah is a life overflowing with satisfaction, happiness, blessing and is a life worth living. A life without Emunah is the exact opposite. It is basically a living hell. ״כי אין מחסור ליראיו״ – There is nothing lacking for those who fear Him.

About the Author
Meir Levy has recently returned from Yeshivat Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem and is currently studying at Brooklyn College. Meir has spent a year in Israel learning about G-D’s existence and His impact on our lives. His goal is to inform, inspire, and one day be able to impact Jews around the world, helping them to flourish and blossom through the difficult situations we face throughout our lives.
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