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What is the Secret of Keeping Faith?

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020 - 8:11 pm

 

Question of the Week:

 

I'm wondering if you have any teachings that might help me not lose faith as I watch so many people around me suffering. What spiritual sustenance did our forefathers tell themselves to manage through the immense tragedies they must have witnessed in their lives? I already know how to self-care, see a therapist, join a support group, talk to friends. I do all that. I'm looking now for the secret of faith.

 

Answer:

 

I recently read the biography of a man who kept faith during suffering. His name was Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, known as the Klausenburger Rebbe. 

 

He lost his wife and 11 children in the Holocaust. His community was decimated. After surviving Auschwitz all alone, he went about the awesome task of rebuilding, starting a new family and piecing together a community. And he succeeded. 

 

He built schools and orphanages, founded a hospital and opened dozens of synagogues. His is one of the many incredible tales of determination and survival, sadly not uncommon in the history of our people. 

Reading his story, I was curious to learn his philosophy on how to survive through tragedy. I expected to find some aphorisms, wisdom teachings, maybe a psychological insight or spiritual perspective on facing adversity, keeping faith and moving on from tragedy. After all, this was a man who experienced the darkest pain imaginable, and came out beaming with light. He lost everything, but never lost faith. Who could better teach the secret of survival?

 

But there was none.

There was just a story of a man who continued to do good for other human beings in spite of the tragedies he faced. At first I was a little confused. How did he do it? What kept him going?

 

Then I realised, that was exactly the message. No secret was in fact the secret.

 

His faith was not based on any philosophies. He didn't have faith because life is good, and he didn't lose it when life was not good. His was a faith that stems from the depths of the soul, a conviction that cannot be budged by anything in the world. He didn't need to be convinced of faith. It's just a fact. It just is. 

 

A man of faith is not immune to pain. He feels the pain acutely. But he never lets that stop him from fulfilling his life mission, to bring good to the world, no matter what. Just because the world seems bad, doesn't mean I won't keep doing good. 

 

You are facing a moment in life that stretches your faith to its limit. Now is the time to strengthen that faith. Without denying the pain you are in and the suffering you are witnessing, you need to keep strong and maintain hope. And you need to keep doing good.

 

There is a secret to faith. It lies in your soul. And it will get you through everything. 

 

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Moss

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