Save the World!
The war and strife that plagues the entire world would end abruptly once emuna spreads across the globe. Why? Each nation would be satisfied with its share...
by Rabbi Shalom Arush
Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
A person who walks out in the streets sees a tense and angry world. Everyone is stressed and in a hurry. There's dissension everywhere, all the outcome of a lack of emuna. If people had emuna, they'd have inner peace, calm and joy. The world would be tranquil and pleasant. Everyone would know that everything is under Divine control and there's nothing to be anxious or worried about. What a nice place the world would be! Even a lone person with emuna enjoys peace and tranquility. If everyone had emuna, we'd see a world of Redemption that we all dream of.
The war and strife that plagues the entire world would end abruptly once emuna spreads across the globe. Why? Each nation would be satisfied with its share and would lovingly accept Hashem's Divine Providence. They would treat each other charitably and with compassion. Thus, the prophecy for the end of days says, "And the lion will dwell with the ewe, and the tiger with the kid-goat…for the earth shall fill with the knowledge of G-d just as the waters fill the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9). Emuna is the "knowledge of G-d" that will fill the world and create the wonderful climate of peace.
Rebbe Nachman writes (Likutei Moharan II:5) that as spiritual awareness spreads in the world, there will no longer be cruelty and violence. Together with the spiritual awareness that comes from emuna, both individuals and nations will become merciful, for mercy comes from spiritual awareness.
Without emuna, there's no explanation as to why one must choose good over bad, or why there must be social order, or why one must raise a family. Why should there be responsibility and morality? If life is limited and death is final, then why not let the strongest survive, prevail and have a good time in the meanwhile? If there's no accountability in the next world, no judge and no judgment, why not do everything that you can get away with? But, with emuna, we know there is a supreme Judge and that we all are held accountable for everything we do.
Without emuna, people and nations do as they see fit. The world looks like a lust factory. Without blinking an eyelash, people are unfaithful to their partners in wedlock, even if it's the spouse of a best friend or relative. People cheat, lie and steal in the name of commercial acumen. Without emuna, they freely covet what's not theirs and invent dozens of justifications in their minds for doing what they want when they want, whether or not it's illegal or immoral. In short, they're not satisfied with their lot in life.
Without emuna, one can create an ideology from any lie, even if it’s the exact opposite of truth. To this day, there are societies that glorify murder in the name of their skewed ideology. There are societies that glorify robbery and encourage robbing the rich to give to the poor. If they would only have emuna, they wouldn't arrive at such perverted ideologies. They would know that there is a Master Creator to the world and He alone decides who will be rich or poor, and that no one has the right to take the law into his own hands or to try and overturn Divine Providence.
The whole world is full of these deviated ideologies. Without emuna, everyone decides his own "truth", which is nothing other than a total lie that is liable to lead to the destruction of the world. Look at the revolutionary movements that sprung up in history – Fascism, Communism, military dictatorships and the like. All claimed to be – and still claim to be, wherever they are still practiced – truth. But, with emuna, one connects to absolute truth – the Creator's truth. No deviation of His word would become an accepted school of thought if emuna prevailed in the world, for everyone would know that the only truth in the world is the Creator's word, which never changes. That's why emuna alone can assure the preservation of the world. In fact, it's the foundation that the world stands on.
Since the Creator has a purpose in creating the world, is it possible that He would demand that a person perform his or her designated task on earth without telling them what that task is? Is it conceivable that the Creator would reward or punish a person without telling him what is permissible and what is forbidden? Do you think that the Creator would leave it up to a person to find out himself what his purpose in life is?
Certainly, the Creator must give a person clear instructions about his purpose on earth. That's why He gave us the Torah and its commandments. The tzaddikim teach us the practical ways of finding and identifying truth that lead us to true emuna.
Only by way of the Divinely-given Torah – which is truth – can one arrive at genuine emuna. Without the Torah, each person decides his own truth depending on his personal appetites and vested interests. As such, as we see clearly in the world, people and governments make tremendous mistakes.
A person who doesn't live in accordance with Torah is subject to confusion and serious mistakes. One decides to chase money, another decides to chase women, and others chase whatever whim or fantasy their hearts happen to harbor. The result is a world that is difficult to bear – full of hate, jealousy, competition, slander, cruelty, dishonesty, violence and injustice, as well as every additional type of abomination and filth.
But, when people live according to Torah and attain genuine emuna, the world becomes a beautiful place. Everyone is satisfied with his own lot in life and doesn't covet others in any way; he certainly doesn't touch anything that doesn't rightfully belong to him. He respects everyone and desires that they succeed. He is charitable and merciful with everyone. He is honest in business and does good for everyone, never deviating from the truth, all according to the holy principles of Torah and emuna.
Consequently, in a climate of emuna, the world blossoms in all its splendor and sweetness. Only a person who lives a life of emuna can therefore taste life's true sweetness.
Rabbi Shalom Arush is an Israeli Breslov rabbi and founder of the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions. He spreads the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov among Sephardic and Ashkenazic baalei teshuva around the world through his books and speaking appearances. Rabbi Arush is considered one of today's leading Hasidic spiritual guides, inspiring hundreds of thousands through his books, audio CDs and online presence.