Inside and outside
Man is afraid of things that cannot harm him and he knows it; and he covets things that will not bear him fruit, and he denies it; but in reality it is something in man himself that he fears, and it is something in man himself that he longs for.
With an open heart, it is fair to say that I am a fear monger. I can be startled by a leaf falling from the tree. I don’t like tall grass – because you never know what scary animals have hidden in it. Dogs, cows, rams – I prefer to walk a block away from them. They are not always real fears. Although that cow that wanted to cuddle was not really pleasant and dogs running after you are not always to be trusted either. These fears come from outside, and actually I could – should – ignore them.
The coveting of material things, well that doesn’t bother me that much. The only things I really crave are trips to Israel and buying books that make my soul happy. But I place little value on everything else. What’s the use, once you’ve bought it, often the fun is already gone. In short, it bears no fruit. I long for Israel and for books because my soul yearns for knowledge. It is an expression of my inner desire to know more of Hashem and know better how to serve Him.
But if that applies to desire, what about fear. Which makes me stress right away for so many things.
Enjoying the sun in the garden – finally a bit of spring – I thought about this.
My joy is linked to serving Hashem, but often from an intellectual standpoint. From knowing and from there linked to the emotion of joy.
My fear is linked to emotion. How do you serve Hashem from your emotion? If my joy comes from intellect then perhaps I should also link my fear to my intellect.
If I am afraid, I must trust that He is always with me. That nothing can happen to me. That everything comes from His hand for the better.
In short, I need to practise emunah and bitachon. A fun fact is that in Hebrew, a craftsman is called a “uman” because he practised his craft repeatedly until it became natural to him. Similarly, emunah becomes greater and deeper as you get used to seeing all the phenomena of life as manifestations of the Creator’s presence and glory. All the more emoena is enriched by being tested and enduring those tests; and by making sacrifices in life for the sake of your emoena.
In short by giving myself credit for not feeling enough confidence in my heart – well in my head – I should see it as a nice practice moment.
By Angelique Sijbolts
Sources: Die Geschichten des Rabbi Nachman: Nacherzählt von Martin Buber, What Is Emunah?
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