Emunah in the Face of Uncertainty

Faith.
Trust.
Belief.
Religion.

All of these words are interconnected, but I don’t feel like they give adequate definition to the Hebrew word emunah. The word is understood to mean faith, but it’s not faith in the way that the rest of the world operates.

Faith is not being blind and trusting for the sake of itself.
Faith is not relying on a greater power to meet every need.
Faith is not selling yourself out at a religious convention.
Faith is more than that.

Faith is seeing evidence and following it to a natural conclusion.
Faith is knowing the hypothesis approach will work.
Faith is making a plan and staying true for its conclusion.
Faith is taking a baby step, not a massive leap.

It was not faith that put men on the moon.
It was not faith that crossed the mighty seas.
It was not faith that innovated our modern marvels.

Competition put us on the moon. Desire crossed the seas. Brilliance created the microchip.

All religious groups seem hold a joint ownership of the term “faith.” Commonly held to the definition of what the eye cannot see, faith is greatly misunderstood. Religion simply does not understand the true power of the word.

Faith is so much more than a cheap trick to lead a sheeple.

This is a critical difference between Orthodox Judaism and the religions of the world.

Where religions tout faith, Judaism asserts legacy and transmission.
Where religions sell relationship, Judaism looks to tradition.
Where religions promise success, Judaism accepts reality.
Where religions call for reformation, Judaism harkens its history.

Slogans and pitches aside, there is a marked difference between the two. Sure, both can be a religion (Judaism as a religion and Jews as an ethnicity don’t always align). Both offer a relationship. Both look to a Higher Power. Both meet an inner need of the soul.

It’s not like kiddie pool and adult swimming, however. Religions, Christianity included, are too busy getting their feet wet to even see that there’s an ocean waiting to be explored.

In uncertain times like these, everyone says “just have faith.” “Just trust G-d.” For those who struggle with anxiety, however, these are “just” empty platitudes. We need something more. And HaShem knew that. Which leads us to a necessary change in the framework of our worldview, our mindset.

Judaism is not a simple faith or religion. It is a complex culture with ethical rules and governmental systems designed to be a holistic world. The Jewish world is not based on faith. It is based on evidence and principle. We see the evidence around us that points to a Creator. We see the illogic problems with multiple Creators. We can deduce that a Creator is known by its creation. And we are left with the following: there must be a single being that is beyond our mere physical understanding, not bound by these rules, and has a moral drive. It’s simply logic. It is from these evidences, these logical steps, that we derive the formulation of Judaism.

So where does faith apply? Faith applies in trusting in HaShem. This trust is different than the trust we had in the beginning, though. This trust is seeing the proof, knowing the evidence, that we can make a decision to trust that HaShem is still HaShem. To use a metaphor, we are merely children in the world that is being sustained by our “Father.” In the same way my children have to place their trust in me, their faith, that I love them when I say I love them, and even when I don’t say it, so too must we place that faith in HaShem.

Even greater, though, is the faith HaShem places in us – to take care of the world He has given us, and that includes each other.