Shlomo Ezagui

What is Pure and Authentic Faith?

Gabriel Lamza

The mind is THE edge we humans have over anything else in creation. When the Bible says we were formed in God’s image, it essentially talks about our God-given ability to think independently of our bodies. Our mind defines us, and our thinking ultimately becomes who we are.

No wonder we always seek to make sense and “wrap our minds” around everything. It is difficult and “irrational” to accept — let alone be expected to do — something we do not understand. It almost goes against our essential nature.

And yet, one of the fundamental principles of becoming Godly and serving God is accepting His authority in complete and pure faith. Our connection with God is reflected in the strength of our faith.

To be honest, a thinking person will be fine relying on faith because even the most rational person can reach this conclusion through reasoning.

A 50-year-old professor can’t explain his 50 years of knowledge and experience to a two-year-old, even though it is all relative. In the same way, we must appreciate and accept that if God can create this vast and precise universe with 7 billion people, it is impossible to ever understand His wisdom and mind.

However, to this end, the Chassidim of old had a parable:

Once, when trains first appeared, a bunch of simple and uneducated farm people, familiar only with the horse and buggy, were sitting in their shacks trying to figure out the secret to the horseless wagon. They made the trip to the big city, examined one of the new horseless buggies, and looked all around for even a hint of the horse(s) hidden inside, even if just his tail.

They finally concluded there had to be a new kind of mighty miniature horse they had never seen before, tucked away neatly behind the wheels, and that is where the power must come from.

If the extent of a person’s faith is based solely on his own experiences, no matter how far one’s mind takes the person, there will always be a “little horse” hidden someplace in his mind. His faith will go slightly further than where his mind can take him. This dramatically limits his faith, which could be more pure and genuine.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk once said, “I do not want to have faith in a God that is understood.”

Wisdom and intellect are not even close to being able to measure the distance between our minds and having real faith in God. God and his ways are not just beyond the understanding of humans but are totally beyond the realm of knowledge, period. It is impossible to imagine the energy, source, and life of everything in any way because He exists beyond the faculties of mind and wisdom.

Faith as an inference of intellect is not faith at all. It is intellect, entirely limited by one’s thinking. Faith is infinitely powerful on the level of a pure, inexplicable, simple faith in God’s existence.

The first kind of faith, which takes intellect as its foundation, is small and flimsy. The second kind, of which faith is the foundation, is truly infinite and omnipotent, channeling itself through the conduit of an ever-expanding intellect.

Chapter 185

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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