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8 posts from August 2009

Choosing the Emuna option

We all have seemingly insurmountable problems. Many of them have no logical solution. Here's a typical example:

John earns $65,000 annually. His minimal living expenses total $70,000. He already owes $40,000, and he foresees his debt increasing by $5000 per year, even before considering the interest he'll have to pay. According to logic, John has no hope; if he views his own situation from "logical" eyes, then he's a candidate for despair, depression, and even worse. He may come to the point where he won't even be able to earn his $65,000 any more, and then his situation will become much worse.

John is undergoing a spiritual test: He now has the option of succumbing to negative thoughts of hopelessness; in such a situation, his life becomes imbearable. On the other hand, he has the option of believing that The Almighty runs the universe, and that there is no situation in the world that warrants despair. Why? The Almighty can send John, or anyone else, a myriad of solutions, which we call a "personal salvation" - financial or otherwise - at any given moment, via an untold number of messengers or circumstances that a human imagination can't even fathom. Nothing is beyond G-d's capabilities.

In a seemingly no-win situation, our job is to strengthen ourselves in emuna. Here's what we need to tell ourselves: "Hashem has put me in a difficult situation because He loves me, and He wants me to call out to Him in prayer. He wants me to trust Him, and not to trust my boss, the bank manager, my own feeble mind, or anyone else. He wants me to strengthen my faith in Him, and believe that He will surely help me." As soon as we choose the faith option, a miraculous personal salvation is close by. For The Almighty, miracles are natural.

The emuna option turns defeat into victory, and despair into joy. Try it. No-win situations are the story of our people. King Solomon promises that we'll have the last laugh, vatischak leyom acharon...

Have a sweet, worry-free weekend.

The power of a niggun

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a taught me the secrets of praying with a niggun (melody), as follows:

1. A niggun speaks the heart's deepest emotions, and is far more expressive than words.

2. A niggun rises higher and faster than words.

3. Prayer in words only is subject to a bombardment of outside thoughts and disturbances that destroy kavonna, or intent. A niggun focuses prayer by uniting the brain and the heart. The stronger and better-focused the prayer, the more resistant it is to the Yetzer Hora (evil inclination), who tries to destroy the prayer or block its ascent.

4. A niggun helps a person cling to Hashem almost instantly; when one clings to Hashem, nothing can block prayer.

5. A niggun cleanses the soul, and facilitates the wonderful emotional releases of tears and laughter.

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a also quoted an advice from the Ariza'l for anything that ails or troubles a person: During Shacharis (morning prayers), if one should sing Shiras HaYam word for word and in the niggun of Torah reading.

***Here's a Lazer secret: When I really need to use heavy spiritual artillery, like pleading to Hashem to give someone the blessing of children or to save someone from a terminal disease, I use Guy Tzvi Mintz's niggun, "Dibbur Shel Teshuva" - the tears flow...

Have a wonderful week, with smiles and blessings!