Shlomo Ezagui

Words of Strength from Caffeine

Rodrigo Flores

We are living in very edgy and stressful times. Unfortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo in this kind of ring. Our Holy Torah gives us many tools to deal with these times, and the most powerful one is strengthening our faith and trust in God.

We must feed our minds regularly and not allow our irrational emotions to take us to irrational places. Our memories tend to forget quickly the miracles we have been granted in the past and even in the present that remind us never to despair.

This world cannot operate in the minutest detail without the express desire of God Almighty. It is ALL God. And God, who is all merciful, infinitely intelligent, and kind, does everything for a good reason. Our job is to strengthen our good deeds and trust in God so that we can and will more quickly see the positive reasons for our difficulties.

Rabbi YY Schneerson said during World War 2, “Every bullet has an address.”

It doesn’t matter what the general surroundings are experiencing because, in the end, what happens or doesn’t happen is meant to be, directed to each person individually.

In this essay, I will make this point that no matter the general direction and flow of the environment, each individual can always experience their unique and personal destiny.

In physics, “Half-Life” is the time it takes half of the atoms in a particular isotope to lose half of their radioactivity. For example, “iodine-131 has a half-life of 8.1 days.”

In pharmacology and biology, it is the time required for the activity of a substance taken into the body to lose half its initial effectiveness.

Let’s use caffeine as an example, which we are all familiar with.

The body breaks down caffeine and then passes it out, just like any other drug. Since so many products now have caffeine, it’s helpful to understand how long caffeine sticks around in the body.

It takes some time for your liver to process caffeine and move it through your system. One study showed that the half-life of caffeine in healthy adults is 5.7 hours. This means if you consume 200 mg of caffeine at midday, you will still have 100 mg of caffeine in you at around 5:45 pm.

Incidentally, no computer is powerful enough to tell us the movement of all the electrons in caffeine. There is lots of “randomness,” subject to no averages or predictions of any human being. So, while scientists give the impression they know everything, track everything, and have the knowledge and answers to everything, there is still so much mystery out there, controlled, influenced, and known ONLY to God, which is what I am about to get to.

When a person takes medication or goes through an operation, the laws of averages do not affect the results of a particular individual. No doctor can ever guarantee the outcome of any procedure or regimen of medicine since every individual is not coerced by averages.

God tells Abraham to leave his place of birth and his country, and he will become rich and famous and be blessed with children. However, when he reaches Canaan, there is a famine, and everyone blames him for bringing it on.

Abraham preaches belief in a monotheistic God, yet everyone Abraham comes across experiences the opposite of anything good. Gone are the prospects for fame or riches.

Abraham moves on to Egypt for food, and the officers at the border take his wife away for the King. Gone are the prospects of having this miraculous child. What would many people do in such a predicament? Maybe give up on the dreams and promises of this God!

Abraham truly believed, had faith, and TRUSTED this truth. When you are sure and you “trust,” your path will take you to a million dollars; it doesn’t matter what else is happening or what else is being said around you. The truth that you trust becomes your committed path, no matter what challenges you.

Abraham wasn’t fazed by the fact that there was a famine, the gossip mongers were talking bad about him, and his wife was no more. Everything around Abraham—the natural way of the world—looked grim. God created those rules of nature, too.

Abraham understood that NO ONE ever knows everything that’s happening, so no one can predict the actual outcome. Abraham knew what scientists understand: the half-life, which guides our laws and rules for understanding nature, is merely the group’s average, while each atom is always mysteriously beyond anyone’s guess.

So Abraham kept believing, and the Torah says that when he returned to Canaan with his wife, laden with animals and wealth, he could show everyone they were wrong for doubting and mocking his faith.

“Look up to (above) the stars and see…” This is what God told Abraham concerning His promise to have children. You, Abraham  (and your children for all eternity), are not bound by the law of averages and statistics. Those rules are for the “world”.

God ALWAYS retains, not just on a metaphysical level but on a scientific, down-to-earth level, the possibility for surprise, for the fate of the individual atom to take its own course.

And so it is for all those who are the children of Abraham and follow in his footsteps.

As we go on our everyday struggles, we are reminded that it doesn’t matter if it is famine, recession, depression, war, or whatever else for the “individual” person. We see that the fate of each of us as individuals is always in God’s hands. Recently, we witnessed some hostages being released and freed. This is a sign and a reminder for each individual to never give up hope. The cause of all causes can always rearrange the chess board with each individual piece on the board in mind. This is what we call in Hebrew Hashgacha Protis – Individual supervision.

The more connected we are with “The Source” through our faith, trust, and good deeds (mitzvoth)  the more God watches and provides His blessings.

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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