Rebbe Nachman told us more than 200 years’ ago that the tests of faith (emuna) in the time preceding the coming of Moshiach would be so great, that: “…many will fall away and be evil.”
But he continued: “Still, I am revealing this for the sake of the few faithful who will remain strong in their belief (emuna). They will certainly have great conflicts. But when they see that this has already been predicted, it will give them additional strength and encouragement.” (Sichot HaRan 35)
On another occasion, Rebbe Nachman commented that at the end of days, the whole world would be flooded by such a huge amount of heretical ideas and theories, even rabbis would have ‘heresy dripping out of their pockets.’
Sadly, there are so many things going on today that prove that Rebbe Nachman was not at all exaggerating, so I thought it would be good to do a quick ‘emuna’ refresher today.
The Rambam’s first principle of faith states:
“I believe with complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, He creates and manages all of creation, and that He alone did, does and will do everything that is done.”
So to take just one example, this means that all those supernatural fires that occurred across Israel last week were 100% the work of God. That doesn’t mean He didn’t use the odd Arab terrorist here and there, but even the Israel Home Command Front estimated that 95% of the fires were spontaneous combustion, and not arson.
The Artscroll siddur makes the following comments about the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith.
First, it tells us very clearly: “There is no partnership in Creation.” It’s complete heresy to suggest that something could occur in the world that God ‘has nothing to do with’, as that suggests there is another force operating in the universe other than Hashem.
(As an aside, this is one of the many big problems with Xtianity, and other religions that like to claim that the forces of evil are somehow outside of God’s control. That’s complete heresy – God is doing EVERYTHING in the world, even the seemingly bad things.)
Secondly, the Artscroll siddur tells us:
“God communicates with man. In order for man to carry out his Divinely-ordained mission, he must know what it is. Prophecy is the means by which God communicates His wishes to man.”
Rebbe Nachman warned us that just before Moshiach showed up, there would be a bunch of heretical pseudo-tzaddiks who would be tripping us up and weakening our faith in God and his true Tzaddikim.
Anytime we believe that anything other than God is causing things to happen, that’s a heretical thought, and here’s why that’s such a problem:
In Tractate Roshana 17a the Gemara tells us that:
“The apikorsim (heretics)…descend to Gehinnom and are punished there for all eternity.”
Heresy is a very serious business, as it can literally cost a person all of their World to Come and consign them to a permanent billet in Hell. Not a fun prospect!
What’s helped me navigate all the confusion and heresy sloshing around is Rav Arush’s three rules of emuna. You can find a more detailed discussion of these three rules in his book, The Garden of Emuna.
RAV ARUSH’S THREE RULES OF EMUNA:
RULE 1: EIN OD MILVADO – God did, does and will do every single thing that’s happening in the world, even the seemingly ‘bad’ stuff, and including even the most smallest details of our lives.
RULE 2: EVERYTHING THAT GOD DOES IS GOOD – Even when it’s painful and upsetting. Everything that occurs to us, even the most painful things, are ultimately only for our good, and will help us to achieve our spiritual rectification, or Tikkun.
RULE 3: THERE’S A MESSAGE IN EVERYTHING – Everything that happens to us or that impacts us in some way contains a message from God about what we might need to work on, fix, change, accept or rectify. The easiest way to figure these messages out is to talk to God for an hour every day.
The Rambam wrote his 13 Principles of Faith to help us avoid the sort of heretical people and ideas that could do permanent damage to our souls. In our mixed up world, there really are a bunch of ‘orthodox’ rabbis out there who literally have heresy dripping out of their pockets.