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Q&A: War, Crisis and Faith

Q: This war is taking its toll on me. Due to the security situation, I cannot return to my home. I feel disconnected from everything that made my life familiar and pleasurable. How can I deal with this sense of disconnectedness and instability? The feeling of nothingness?

A: The feeling of nothingness – certainly under these circumstances – is difficult. But it is also a great opportunity. Every significant change in reality requires the nullification of the previous state. Before achieving the new, much better state, there is an interim state of nothingness. Before the new baby arrives in the world, the mother experiences pain and suffering. Every state of nothingness is an opportunity to skip into a new, much better reality and every crisis includes the potential for a new birth. We have to transform the crisis that we are experiencing today into “the birth pangs of Mashiach” – the birth process of Mashiach in which we will cross over from a state of exile to a state of true, complete redemption. It will be a true revolution – from a state that is not founded on the Torah to a state of Mashiach.

Q: How do we survive during the crisis? How can we get to a truly new beginning?

A: The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that during the difficult times of “the footsteps of Mashiach” the only thing that we can hang onto is faith that is above and beyond reason. Hence, the primary trial during these times is the trial of faith. Faith is the loftiest power of the soul. It is the beginning and foundation of all the powers that come after it. To truly start again, we have to return to the point of faith. To do so, we must forgo all of our routines, all of our previous experiences, all of our existing axioms and convictions and even our desires and those things that brought us pleasure. Instead, we have to focus on faith above and beyond reason, from which our entire personality can grow anew.

Q: How can we reveal our deep faith during such trying times?

A: The verse says “And the tzaddik (pious person) will live by his faith.”[1] The power of faith in the soul is the point of the tzaddik in every Jew. Hence, just as we believe in God, we must believe in every Jew – and certainly in the Nation of Israel. We must believe that every Jew and the entire Jewish People have powerful faith, the ability to remain resilient in the face of adversity, to triumph and change for the better. And just as every individual has the point of the tzaddik within, God plants a true tzaddik who can arouse the faith concealed within us in every generation. At times of difficulty and crisis, every Jew and the entire Jewish People need to take refuge under the wings of the true tzaddik and be inspired by him to believe. This will enable the new construction of the nation and of the individual.

When everything seems good and clear, we engage primarily in good, which brings us pleasure. But there are times when we must fight an all-out war against absolute evil that has raised its ugly head in the world. This war also uncovers treasure troves of faith in the soul and opens the way for a new world that is completely filled with inconceivable good.

 

[1] Havakuk 2:4.

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