Faith is based on revelation,
but a revelation that takes place
each day. *

Faith is based on revelation…” –

“Revelation” isn’t commonly thought of as a feature of every-day life. But in Torah and in “NaCh,” people often “see G-d,” “lift their eyes…” etc. “Revela-tion” comes from “reveal” – the “hidden” becomes known; “unveiled.” G-d’s presence is always “with” us, always “in” us, but not always clear to us.

We all have “revelations.” We just don’t call them that.

Rabbi Lichtenstein is saying that “faith” – emunah – isn’t only an intellectual or emotional belief, based on hope or even tradition (although these have their value, too). It’s based on personal experience of G-d’s presence. It’s “revelation.” The Divine Presence, always with us and in us, becomes “unveiled” to us, as when Ya’akov says, “G-d was in this place and I didn’t know it.” [1]

The midrash says “…G-d’s Name is ‘Peace’…” [2] The “name” of a thing is its definition; it’s most perfect description; it’s “identity.” The midrash, then, is saying that our experience of G-d will be one of perfect Peace.

Each time in our lives that we have an experience of G-d, or of G-d’s peace, even if only for a moment, we’ve had an indisputable “revelation” of G-d’s Presence.

Thus, the “Duties of the Heart” says, ““Among the wordly advantages of trust [בטחון] are to be found: a heart at rest…” [3]

Why do we remember that G-d took us from Egypt? To affirm in our hearts that G-d is Present Here and Now, as supreme over our problems as to “nature” itself at the Reed Sea.

Knowing this — “B’ya’do afkid ruchi;” “I put my soul in His hand” — “Adon Olam” tells us to “let go;” place our difficulties in G-d’s “Hand.”

Faced with a problem, “belief” might tell us that G-d can “do anything,” leaving us with a positive idea, but an unquiet heart. If, at that moment, we truly “lift our eyes,” “know” with our hearts G-d’s supremacy over any problem or condition, and let go of the problem, we turn from visible, material creation to its Source.

At the moment we truly affirm this in our hearts, we move from the finite, conscious level of our minds to the unchanging Infinite level:

“When we give ourselves up to the contemplation of G-d, our soul takes us into a region beyond our present physical world…We transcend, we go beyond the limitation of finite thought, and we draw therefrom power, strength and wisdom …If we have been nervous, tense or worried, we can, in a few minutes, cause ourselves to become calm…It is a deliberate and conscious change from our daily thinking to a communication with the infinite, through our soul…It has been said that we can experience union with something larger than ourselves, a sense of oneness with the power beyond…in that union, we shall find our greatest contentment and peace. That union we make and can experience only through our soul.” [4]

“…that takes place each day” –

G-d must be new to us each day.

Rabbi Lichtenstein teaches that this “faith” – emunah or bitachon – must be renewed each day. Otherwise, yesterday’s “revelation” can be no more than today’s recollection; something we experience only as a memory.

The rabbis debate as to whether “faith” is a mitzvah. Does Torah anywhere specifically tell us to “have faith?” Not conclusively. Strictly speaking, Torah tells us to continuously “remember” G-d’s Presence — as if to say: continuously reveal G-d’s Presence to ourselves.

That’s why Torah mandates sacrificial services morning and evening. We worship – “unveil” G-d to ourselves – at the conclusion of each day’s activity, and do the same again the following morning, at the commencement of the next day’s activity. The holiness of worship is meant to permeate our days and nights. But it also becomes the example of what life is truly meant to be:

“The Divine Presence dwells with the Holy as it dwelt in the Temple…” [5]

“Faith” isn’t a “separate” mitzvah — as “tzitzit” is separate from “m’zuzah.” Rather, “faith” underlies and accompanies doing any mitzvah. Put another way, a new “revelation” — each moment of each day — should underlie doing all mitzvot.

Every true experience of G-d will seem “new” to us. The outer forms of the mitzvot, staying essentially the same, are made fresh each day by the faith that our revelation infuses into them — and us.

You will find that faith is “progressive.” Each day’s revelation builds on the one before it, gradually changing our conscious thinking and experience, too, until:

“…[all] actions, even the lowly physical ones, will be accounted as sacrifices and Divine service.” [6]

How amazing to think of a future time when such an “unveiling” is an ongoing experience for all of us, at every moment, every day of our lives!

____________________________________________________________

* Lichtenstein, Rabbi Morris; Jewish Science and Health; © 1925; p. 137
[1] Bereishith/Gen. 28:16
[2] Vayikra/Lev. Rabbah 9:9
[3] Rabbi Bahya ibn Pakuda; Duties of the Heart; Feldheim Publishers; © 1970; vol. 1, p. 291
[4]  Schwartz, Charles and Bertie; Faith through Reason; National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America; © 1946; p. 28-9
[5] Luzzatto, Rabbi Mosheh Chayim; Mesillat Y’sharim [The Path of the Just]; Feldheim Publishers, © 1966; p. 331
[6] ibid., p. 333