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GIVING EMUNAH IS GIVING LIFE

By: Rabbi David Ashear

One of the greatest gifts we can give a person is to teach him emunah, the powerful tool that enables one to go through life with genuine happiness, knowing that everything that happens comes directly from Hashem, Who loves him and always has his best interests in mind.

The Chafetz Chaim asked someone, “How are

you today?’

“Well, it could be better,” the man replied.

“This isn’t true,” the sage said. “If it could be better, then it would be better. Everything is precisely the way it is supposed to be.”

By giving somebody emunah, one gives him life, as he is filled with contentment and serenity.

An often-quoted pasuk (Tehillim 34:13) states, “Who is the man who desires life, who loves days in which to see goodness…” The Shefa Chaim (232) explains this to mean that the person who truly “desires life” and “loves days,” who wants to enjoy life, will ensure to always see goodness, to view everything in his life in a positive light. Even if he experiences hardship, such as in earning a living or raising his children, he will nevertheless see everything that happens

as goodness.

Parents should train their children from a young age to live with emunah, to know how much Hashem loves them and controls everything that happens in their lives. They should be told that even when they are hurt, it is Hashem cleansing them of their misdeeds and purifying them so they will experience greater enjoyment in the Next World. Just as a mother lovingly changes her infant’s diaper despite his protests, because she very much wishes him to be clean, similarly, Hashem at times makes us uncomfortable for our own long-range benefit.

I taught a weekly class to boys ages 8 to 12 on these concepts of emunah, in which I discussed how everything is ultimately for the best, and how we must thank Hashem and avoid complaining. Every week, they would relate amazing incidents. One boy reported that he fell off his bicycle and scraped his knee, but instead of crying he thanked Hashem. Another boy said he was not picked for the basketball game in school, but instead of complaining about it, he said “thank you” to Hashem. Every week, we were treated to yet another remarkable story. I made a point of emphasizing to the boys that when a child rides his bicycle for hours without falling, of course that is because Hashem is protecting him; and when a kid is picked for the game, this happened because Hashem wanted it. Everything is from Hashem.

Someone I know asks his children at bedtime each night to thank Hashem for something that happened that day. Usually, the kids mention the special candy they received, or the delicious ice cream they ate. But sometimes, they’ll even say “thank you” for the boo-boo

they got, or for the snack they lost. They might not actually mean it, but they are being trained to recognize that everything is from Hashem and is for our benefit, even if we cannot possibly understand how. This is a fundamental life skill. And the more we set this standard for our children, the more we ourselves will follow it in order to be consistent, and when things go wrong at home we will not become upset, but we will instead say “thank you” to Hashem, knowing that they didn’t go wrong; they went exactly as they were supposed to. We will then be people who truly “desire life,” who “see goodness” in everything that happens.