Dear Rabanit Cohen,
I was at your shiur two weeks ago when you spoke about David Ha’melech and I was amazed. I did not want to go to a shiur altogether but my mother forced me to attend. I am having a problem in emunah. My question is, why do I need to have faith? I am at a point where I don’t even want to get out of bed. How can I push myself forward?
Thank you for taking the time to write and a big yishar koach for attending the shiur despite your reservations. I am happy that you walked away amazed as it only goes to show how much depth there is in Torah when you truly seek it.
Your question is one that many people face unfortunately in this generation. You should know that being Jewish is sometimes accompanied by struggles. The name Yisrael means “one who struggles with G d.” Emunah is not a light switch that you turn on and it stays on. Faith is a fire that you need to tend to and fuel, and sometimes rekindle. It is a constant struggle and battle that is never ending.
There are days that your faith will shine through and everything fits into place. These are the days you feel at one with yourself and Hashem, and even tefilah comes naturally to you. Then there are days that you wake up and everything appears dark and your faith seems to have wilted away. Hashem, your neshamah, tefilah, goodness – they all seem like annoying creatures buzzing in your ear, and you just want to roll over and go back to sleep.
But even on those days, you have to find the motivation to get up and get on with life. Your emunah may not get you out of bed, but try another approach. Put aside your emunah in Hashem for a moment and ask yourself, “What about Hashem’s faith in me?”
There is a powerful tefilah that we recite upon awakening: “Modah ani lefanechah Melech Chai v’kayam. She’he’chezartah bi nishamti, b’chemlah, rabah emunatechah – I give thanks to You, Living and Eternal King, for You have returned my soul to me with kindness. How great is Your faith.”
The faith referred to in this pasuk is not your faith in Hashem, but rather His faith in you. The very fact that you woke up is proof that Hashem believes in you. He knows you are not perfect. He is well aware of your failings. He knows of all the mistakes you made. And yet, in the morning following your sleep, He restores your neshamah and provides you with another chance. Why? Because He trusts you. He has faith in your ability to change and make today a bit better than it was yesterday. You may or may not believe in Him; you may or may not believe in yourself, but Hashem believes in you.
Humans are inconsistent but Hashem is constant. His emunah in you is firm and unchanging, even if your faith in Him is shaky. That is the emunah of a Bat “Yisrael” who struggles with Hashem. You may be struggling, but you are struggling with Hashem and He is always there.If you woke up this morning, if your neshamah was returned to you to see another day, then give thanks to the One who believes in your abilities to see in that day all the wonderful things you can accomplish.
Start your day with a tefilah, if not out of your emunah in Hashem, then at least out of Hashem’s emunah in you. He trusts you enough to give you a precious neshamah that you should use.