May 29, 2024
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Do You Have Faith? It’s Because You Are in Touch With Reality

What does it take to have faith?

According to Dictionary.com, you need to be a little bit… detached from reality. Here is how it defines “faith:” “Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”No wonder why when someone does something that is not entirely rational, we say that he took a “leap of faith.” The word “faith” seems destined to live in the realm of no logic and wishful thinking.

But is that so?

I’d argue that having faith is actually very much connected to reality. And in fact, the more we are in touch with reality, the more faith we will have.Let’s have a look at the story of the 12 spies…

Just before the Jews were about to enter Israel, Moshe sent 12 spies. They traveled undercover, looking around and collecting data on the lifestyle and the military abilities of the Canaanites.

When they came back, 10 out of 12 were a no-go.They spoke about the strong people and the impenetrable cities. They were deeply concerned about possible diseases plaguing the land. “Going into Israel,” they concluded, “was not a good idea.”

You probably know the rest of the story:

The Jewish people were convinced and rebelled against Moshe. Hashem declared they would stay in the desert for 40 years before entering Israel.The 10 spies were then punished.

Now, let me ask you: Why?

After all, their report was pretty accurate. It didn’t include any fake stories or inaccurate information. Is that a reason for punishment?

The answer can be found with the remaining two spies, Caleb and Yehoshua.They witnessed the same facts yet arrived at a very different conclusion.

“We can surely go up and take possession of it [the land], for we can indeed overcome it!’”

“…The land we passed through to scout is an exceedingly good land; if the Lord desires us, He will bring us to this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

And Rashi provides an additional detail that was said by Caleb:“Didn’t he [Moshe] split the sea for us, bring down the manna for us, and cause the quails to fly down to us?”

Facts don’t change. But the story that comes with them makes all the difference. The 10 spies focused on the current challenges, and they described them accurately. On the other hand, Caleb reminded them to look at the entire story.

If their lives up until this point were filled with miracles, they could expect more miracles to follow. If they had witnessed the Loving Hand of Hashem at every step since they had left Egypt, they could be sure that He would not abandon them at this critical juncture of their lives.

Essentially, Caleb was telling his colleagues: “You guys claim to be practical and realistic, but you are the ones who are detached from reality! Because an honest review of everything that has happened up until this point will lead us to the simple conclusion: we are going to be okay.”

“Yes, the Canaanites have a strong army and superb fortresses. And no, I don’t know how we will win the battle. But I know that Moshe has performed incredible miracles up until this point, so I know he is a reliable leader carrying the word of Hashem.”

Once, someone wrote to the Rebbe about a difficulty he was facing. The writer was desperate and lacked any hope that his situation would improve.

The Rebbe gently suggested that he should review his life up until that point. “You have experienced so many miracles,” wrote the Rebbe. “Your life has been filled with blessings, so surely you can trust that Hashem will be with you now.”

I believe that this is true for all of us…We just need to spend some time thinking about it:

“…Thinking about all of the past challenges that, although they seemed impassable at the time, we somehow figured it out.”

“…Thinking about the gifts in our lives. Just because we are used to them, these are still real miracles!”

Faith will no longer be a farfetched idea when we think about it.It would be a natural and logical conclusion.


Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the rabbi at Chabad of Hackensack. He looks forward to receiving your comments and thoughts at: [email protected]

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