Dr. Emuna: Overcoming the Terror
Emuna gives us powerful tools to cope with anxiety, fear, pain, and confusion. How can we use those tools to strengthen ourselves in the war situation?
Hashem is God, ein od milvado, there is no nature and no Hamas. What happened is somehow for the best and will go down in the annals of history along with the Holocaust as something we cannot understand why. Now, we look forward, never forgetting that the Guardian of Israel does not slumber and does not sleep!
That being said, we’re all nervous wrecks. We’re all shocked, appalled, suffering, and overwhelmed. We’re all glued to our phones and computers to check the news. Round-the-clock updates. It’s almost impossible to put it down.
However, the solution is specifically the opposite – stop looking at the news and start praying! Here is why:
Sitting around looking at “what is going on” is just a trap of the Evil Inclination. It might even dress up like a tzaddik, saying “Oh, you need to know what exactly to pray for, and to pray with more feeling.” This is all a lie, for a few reasons:
- The media is part of the Other Side, it’s not from the side of holiness. It sells lies and slander all the time. Even if it’s “true,” it’s not the whole truth, which is emuna and Hashem. Whatever you read is only taking you away from the simple emuna and truth of the Almighty God and the true emuna that Hashem loves you, everything is good, and it’s only getting better and better.
I refer once again to Rabbi Arush’s article (Who Doesn’t Like to Pay?) about how the biggest judgements come specifically from our difficulty in truly believing this, and that being unable to believe that it’s only getting better can create the reality that it won’t, Hashem should save us!
- Watching the media makes it hard to hold on to your emuna, because the media makes us afraid, anxious, depressed, sad, and worse. All those negative emotions are the opposite of emuna!
Rebbe Nachman teaches that what you are afraid of is allowed to rule you. That’s incredibly dangerous at any time, and especially right now. We want to be 100% only under Hashem’s personal Divine Providence. For that, we need to fear only Him and look only to Him and believe only in His power and guidance. If we’re looking only to His Providence, we are not biting our nails over what already happened and what might happen in the next moment.
Only when we disconnect from the news, can we connect to the emuna truth we need to hear and repeat to ourselves constantly: Every bullet and every missile has its address; everything comes only from Hashem Who loves us. Even when, G-d forbid, He takes people in the sanctification of His Name, even that is good and from love in a way we simply cannot understand in this world. Every one of us is here for a purpose and a rectification. If it’s our rectification to die, then there is no escaping it. If not, there is even less reason to be afraid! Whatever it is, only Hashem is in charge – not Hamas, not chance, not the wind, and not anything else, including the Iron Dome!
- The media desensitizes you. You become numb. In addition to the fear and sadness which shuts down the heart and thus the ability to speak, you stop being sensitive to the suffering in the same way.
Hence, now you have less emuna, more fear, and more numbness. Most of the time, that creates a blocked heart that cannot pour forth words of personal prayer or emotion into Psalms and the like. You become totally neutralized – which of course is the goal of the Evil Inclination that told you to “check the news” in the first place!
Why is this Evil Inclination to see what is happening so difficult to overcome? Because it’s part of the sin of Adam. In checking the news, we are grasping onto straws in a subconscious effort to take back some semblance of control when we feel so scared and so helpless.
The key is to take that fear and helplessness and turn it into prayer to Hashem! Because we truly are helpless – but only to Him!
And Hashem has the biggest Hands and the biggest Shoulders that can protect us and carry us and provide for us, without or without natural means.
It’s very hard to let go of the desire to be in control, to be “like G-d” and know everything that is going on, as if it’s going to help us manage or control the future. But the more we can “let go and let G-d” so to speak, the more we will be more relaxed and filled with emuna – which Rabbi Arush calls “the ability to cope.” Who doesn’t need that right now?
Then there is simply the incredible amount of wasted time spent checking on the situation! Set a timer for five minutes and see how little you manage to do. I found it to be more like 15 – 20 minutes, multiple times a day!
Let’s compare that to praying for the Jewish people – every word is equivalent to the number of Jews, which thank G-d still stands at approximately 15 million according to Rabbi Arush. So, in five minutes you just did BILLIONS of mitzvot! Forget about one hour! Even one sentence is so precious!!!
Finally, there is the psychological reality that when someone does something to help himself, there is less trauma and feelings of paralysis and helplessness. Checking the news only adds to these feelings and makes everything WORSE, not better. But sitting down and praying makes you feel so much better, because here you actually did something to help yourself and the situation! There is just so much that needs to be done right now and so many prayers that need to be said – get to work! Who has time and energy to waste?
Hence, the Evil Inclination ensnares us and makes us think that by checking the news we’ll feel better and more in control. In reality, he is just selling us spam that makes us sick. He makes us unable to do what really will make us feel better and will give us power to make things better – words of emuna and prayer.
I readily admit that it’s really hard to stop checking in, but you’ll feel so much better as you conquer the drive, and really the addiction, to the news, to the news-feed, and everything like it. You’ll feel better because you’re not ingesting poison, and because G-d willing now you’ll be freer to pray and follow the rest of Rabbi Arush’s advice which really will help you take back your personal power!
Please read my article Not Just Another War which includes specific segulot for protection during this very dangerous time. Make sure to also read Rabbi Arush’s newest update on the situation, Redemption is the News here.
The Jewish people is counting on you now to do your part – don’t let the Evil Inclination neutralize you!
PS. After I wrote this article, a hidden tzaddik spoke about the great need to learn Torah and pray Psalms instead of listening to the news, “which is all nonsense; all the news is against religion, against Torah, against the Land of Israel.”
With Hashem’s help, I will be continuing this series with more advice on how to cope in the aftermath and the war, whether you’re in Israel or abroad.
Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far-off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of the university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel.
Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel’s English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: email@example.com.