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Faith

Faith

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"Faith is our most powerful resource. It enables your spirit to soar above and beyond the pains and difficulties of life below" -- The Rebbe

A writer who came to meet the Rebbe asked why so many people seemed to have difficulty believing in G‑d. "There may be doubts," the Rebbe answered. "To question G‑d, however, is the first indication that one believes in something. You must have some acceptance of G‑d even to question Him."

"But if they believe, why don't they act on it?" the writer asked.

"They are afraid of their faith," the Rebbe replied.

"They fear the demands their faith might put upon them, that they might have to forego some of their comfort, or compromise some of their ideas. They fear changing their lives."

What is faith and does everyone have it?
Many people don't see faith as a basic human faculty; they see it more as the absence of reason. Others are even more cynical, claiming that faith is a sign of weakness, something to resort to when all else fails. In earlier times, this thinking goes, faith was a necessity because man didn't have science to help explain the laws of nature; but in the face of reason and all of man's brilliant accomplishments, we have outgrown our need for faith. Isn't faith just a creation of our imagination meant to deal with issues that we can't comprehend?

But we see that people inherently believe in something greater than themselves. This feeling is inside all of us; we only need to know how to access it. But how do we cultivate faith? Isn't it something you either have or don't?

We are all born with faith. It is neither acquired nor taught; it is our most natural state. A young child, for instance, just has natural faith.

But as the child grows older, he accepts less and less at face value. His faith becomes obscured by reason and he realizes that his faith has been constantly abused. After years of experiencing hypocrisy and being lied to, he learns to distrust his own inner beliefs.

We cannot allow our reason to drown out the inner voice that tells us what we know to be true with every fiber in our being. We must learn to cultivate our natural faith.

How do we cultivate true faith?
True faith constitutes not only a belief in G‑d, but a trust that G‑d always does what is good and right. True faith does not waiver, even if things do not work out as we would have liked. Yes, we may have doubts. Yes, we may feel saddened by the neediness and suffering in the world. Yes, we may want to confront G‑d for allowing tragedies. But abandoning your faith in G‑d means that you are compromising yourself. When we witness suffering at the hands of other people, we should direct our anger where it belongs -- at man. If anything, war and genocide teach us that our faith in man can be misplaced, but never our faith in G‑d.

Is believing in G‑d naïve?
Many people today still have trouble believing in G‑d and are plagued with questions. Is this skepticism healthy or not? Is it an honest search for the truth or a justification for self-serving behavior?

For some, the first step in the search for faith might be to assure yourself that you are indeed ready to listen and grow, that you are willing to accept the responsibility of faith. The next step is dealing with your doubts concerning G‑d's existence.

Then we must allow our inner voice to speak. We know there is a G‑d just as we know we have a soul -- not because we can see or touch it, but because we can feel it. We feel the soul's effects. We sense its hunger for meaning, its thirst for knowledge, and we feel satisfaction when we nourish it. We feel purpose and direction when we feel G‑d in our lives; we feel there is meaning in everything we do.

For a moment, stop what you are doing. Let your mind be silent, and allow yourself to hear the small, still voice of G‑d. When you set yourself free, you will realize that your faith is much closer to the surface than you had imagined.

Selected readings from Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe (William Morrow, 1995), authored by Simon Jacobson based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory. Reprinted with permission from the Meaningful life Learning Center
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Paul Kupferman Tarzana, CA/US December 23, 2009

Faith This such a beautiful exposition of the struggle in belief. I love, the way it ends. It is proof of their truth. Psalms states that: " but to the end of the earth their words reach." Reply

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