Love, Pain and Emuna

It’s erev Shavuot and I’ve suddenly been thrust into a burst of inspiration, from the depths of something much more painful. I’ve been learning about emuna. The powerful concept that everything happens through Hashem (i.e. He allows it happen), and therefore as much as a ‘bad’ situation may hurt and be unbareable, it is always bareable, meaningful and good.

Bareable? Meaningful? Good?

It’s bareable because Hashem only gives us challenges that we can handle. For some people it’s medical issues, for others it’s something with the kids, or in-laws or money issues. Everyone has the specific challenges that they need to help them grow. The amazing, miraculous and awe inspiring thing is that Hashem is able to make this happen, that each one of us gets exactly what we need. As we say in prayer, He “satisfies the desire of every living thing”. So I hear you say: “but we don’t desire “bad”‘. From the perspective of the here and now, of course we don’t. From the perspective of hindsight and introspection, we can often look at a seemingly bad situation, be honest with ourselves and see that the lessons we are being taught wouldn’t have been learnt otherwise, or the event/person stretched you in the specific way you needed to be stretched, or that, looking back we see that now you have overcome something big and are now a better person for it. It is that growth, those realisations, that make the ‘bad’ situation actually worth while (and possibly necessary). Some people of course don’t look inside – they keep problems as external and as a result don’t learn from the situations they are given. In these cases, playing victim only stops the growth from occuring. Go back to square one and realise that everything happens to you for a reason. How will you change as a result? Not ‘how will I change them’. Ask yourself “What is Hashem telling me I need to change?”

The difficulty is to project that hope, that emuna, that faith in how Hashem runs this world, to really know that things will be better and are for the best even if we don’t feel that right now. Whether or not we can see the light at the end of the tunnel is not an indication of whether it is there. It’s about us, changing our perspective, and through emuna, knowing it is there even if we don’t see it.

What I’ve learnt is that you can’t have love without emuna. Emuna allows love to be enduring, to surpass the ups and downs, to have forgiveness, to go beyond your own needs. Emuna is the basis for coping with life and all our challenges.

Wishing you all a joyous and meaningful chag. Happy learning.

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