On Sunday evening, September 11, Queens community members gathered for an inspiring shiur on emunah hosted by Chazaq and Bukharian Jewish Congregation of Briarwood at the Young Israel of Briarwood.

Rabbi Shimon Yanetz, rav of the Bukharian Jewish Congregation of Briarwood, welcomed the large crowd and shared how especially at this time of year we are dedicating time to come closer to Hashem. He pointed out that in many places in the Torah it says “emunah.” We are believers and sons of believers. One example is in Parshas Lech-Lecha when Hashem told Avraham that his reward was going to be great. He told Avraham to try to count the stars and that will be how many will be in your generations. The Torah says that Avraham believed in Hashem and Hashem considered it like tz’dakah.

The Rambam and the Ramban both teach that emunah is one of the 613 mitzvos.

Rabbi Lazer Brody, well-known author and speaker, then taught that emunah is our own personal connection to Hashem. He related, “We are all beloved sons and daughters of Hashem. Without emunah, we can’t keep the Torah.” He shared that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai taught that the soul is a tiny part of Hashem. Looking into someone’s eyes, we see the reflection of Hashem’s light that is inside that person.

Our Father is the King forever and we are his kids. When Rabbi Akiva said Avinu Malkeinu, that brought rain. In the 13 Principles of Emunah, the first principle is that I believe with full and complete belief that Hashem is the Creator and Director. He alone does and will do everything. “Everything is Hashem!” Rabbi Brody exclaimed. This is true even in the face of calamity. We have to remember that all our brachah comes from Hashem.

He shared the famous story of Philippe Petit who was a French tightrope walker who did daring stunts on high wires in France and between the towers of the World Trade Center. To the amazement of the crowd in Paris, his six-year-old daughter rode in a wagon across the wire. When asked how she could do that so bravely, she replied “That’s my father.” Rabbi Brody shared that is the musar to us that we have to know Hashem is our Father. When there is no natural possible solution to our problem, we have to remember that and know that emunah is above the stars. “Emunah is when your father will take you to the other side.” He shared how the amount of belief in himself that Mr. Petit had in order to cross a wire across the World Trade Center Towers in 1974 – is a musar to us. If he can believe in himself so much, then we have to remember that we have a Father in Heaven so we can believe in ourselves.

We are the grandchildren of Avraham. He was called Ivri, which means “from the other side.” The whole world was on one side in terms of beliefs, and he stood on the other side, alone, and we are his grandchildren. The good inclination is emunah. We have to remember that we have a Father in Heaven who is always with us. “Emunah gives you power.” You know that you are not dependent on yourself. Rabbi Nachman taught that no matter where you are or what you are, you can call on Hashem. The more we bring Hashem into our lives, the faster we bring Mashiach.

He taught that Hashem brings the r’fuah before the makah. We find the solution by way of emunah. He spoke about how all the great civilizations of the past are no longer here and the Jewish people are still here. This is because we are people of emunah.

Rabbi Brody shared that “when I think about emunah I have to smile. My smile is a statement that I love the way Hashem runs the world.”

He shared a famous quote: “Don’t tell yourself how big your troubles are. Tell your troubles how big Hashem is.” He added that emunah means knowing that everything is for the best. He concluded that the key to happiness is Ein Od Milvado.

He gave a brachah to the audience for all blessings in the new year. This shiur can be viewed on TorahAnytime.com.

 By Susie Garber