(From an article by Ms. Sara Yocheved Rigler on Aish.com:)

…Together with Rabbi Leib Kelemen, Rabbi Noach Orlowek, and Dr. Pargament, David Rosmarin developed a program for treating stress and worry in the Jewish community. The program is a spiritually-based intervention founded on the same “Gate of Trust in G-d” [in: “Duties of the Heart”] that helped him so much as a nervous college student, as well as other classic Jewish texts. The program is done through the Internet, so it can be completed anonymously by anyone at any location and at any time. It requires no therapist, just the commitment of a half hour every day for two weeks.

For his dissertation, David Rosmarin has built a free, online portal that is testing the program’s efficacy against an established and well-utilized intervention called Progressive Muscle Relaxation…

[The study is now closed, but please visit:] http://www.jpsych.com/people.html

BELIEF IN GOD AND THE EXODUS

The “trust in G-d” fostered by this program has three key components:

Belief that G-d is all-knowing (and therefore knows what you need)
Belief that G-d is all-powerful (and therefore can change physical reality)
Belief that G-d loves you (and therefore acts for your benefit)

As Mr. Rosmarin points out, it makes sense that a person who believes in an omniscient, omnipotent, and loving G-d will not be consumed by worry or depression.

Or does it? Isn’t it possible to believe in an omniscient, omnipotent, and loving G-d who created the world, but doesn’t care if I lost my whole pension fund in the meltdown? Isn’t it possible to believe that G-d loves the world, but isn’t going to intervene in my unemployment troubles?

Here’s where the Exodus comes in. As any observer will notice, Judaism is obsessed with the Exodus. While the salvation from Haman’s genocidal scheme is mentioned only once a year at Purim, and the salvation from the Syrian-Greeks is mentioned only once a year at Chanukah, the redemption from Egypt is mentioned not only at Passover, but every Shabbat in the Kiddush and every day in the morning prayers. In fact, it is a mitzvah to remember the Exodus every day. Why?

The Jewish belief in G-d has two essential parts:

God created the world.
God intervenes in human history.

G-d intervenes not only in epic global events, but also in the daily circumstances of your life.

Just as the first principle means that G-d created not only the Himalayas, but also your fingernails, so the second principle means that G-d intervenes not only in epic global events, but also in the daily circumstances of your life. In Judaism, the Exodus is a code word for the far-reaching concept that G-d micro-manages the world, that Divine Providence oversees and intervenes, that G-d is a hands-on God Who cares.

From the human side, the Exodus is a testimonial to the Jewish People’s trust that G-d would indeed take care of them. Between Egypt and the Promised Land was nothing but a vast desert, without sufficient water or food to sustain a multitude. Exiting from slavery in Egypt was like escaping Alcatraz by jumping into the shark-infested ocean. As G-d would say to Israel centuries later through His prophet: “I remember the love of your youth, how you followed me into the wilderness, into an unsown land.” [1] Thus, on Passover, we recall not only how G-d intervened to save us, but how we trusted that the mega-miracles of the Exodus would be followed by G-d’s protracted daily sustenance.

Passover is indeed the holiday of faith in G-d. The matzah represents both “the bread of affliction” and “the bread of freedom.” The Seder is full of symbols of both suffering and redemption. The message we must imbibe is that suffering and redemption are inextricably linked, that G-d gives us suffering in order to make us spiritually fit to receive redemption. On Seder night, we rise to a level of faith where each one of us affirms: “You know our suffering, You can act to redeem us, and I trust that because You love us, You will do what is for our ultimate good.”

As David Rosmarin declares: “With the financial markets in crisis and with growing security concerns around the world, stress and worry have gone through the roof – particularly in the Jewish community. Increasing belief in G-d may help to decrease a lot of distress.” [2]

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[1] Yirmiyahu/Jer. 2:2
[2] http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/48964651.html
for author Ms. Sara Rigler’s own site, see:
http://www.sararigler.com/about.php