Many people are now coming to The blog @ With such an crowd there are bound to be important questions that we can, as a group discuss and help answer. Here are a set of questions that were sent into the blog recently. Can you use the comment section to suggest some answers or maby ask some of your own (even unrelated) questions?

1) What is Emunah and how is it different from Bitochon?
2) Are we just like Christians, believing in blind faith?
3) Why do we need Emunah in order to acquire knowledge, can’t we right away understand everything with our intellect?
4) Where does Hishtadlus (personal effort) impact our Emunah and Bitochon?

Chaim Oliver

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  1. 1) This question is discussed in the sefer (book) Chovot HaLevavot. It is translated into English under the title “Duties of the Heart”. Read through this book and you will find the answer.

    2) Rav Noah Weinberg ztz”l, founder of Aish HaTorah, explained (I believe according to the Rambam) that the first of the ten commandments, the mitzvah of “I am Hashem your Lord, etc.” is a commandment not to believe in God but to know that God exists with 5-finger clarity. In the same manner that one knows with clarity that he has 5 fingers, he must know that God exists. He gave a class on the 7 categories of Evidence of God and the 7 categories of Evidence of Torah from Sinai (which is incidentally also proof that God exists, for if the Torah was given by God at Sinai it means there was a God to give it). They can be downloaded from the Audio website on There also several books written on this topic including “Permission to Believe” and “Permission to Receive”. We do not believe in blind faith. Our faith is based on logic. However, we do not allow logic to get in the way of our faith. Part of knowing God exists means that we believe in His being infinite and beyond human comprehension. So, we won’t understand everything about God. Not knowing all the details of something we see clearly doesn’t detract from our belief in it’s existence. Rabbi Lazer Brody says “Emunah begins where logic ends”.

    3) Emunah means that there are certain things that are beyond our understanding but we believe in Hashem, His Torah, and His True Tzadikim despite our inabilities. In essence, emunah means we are saying “I don’t know everything”. In that sense, it helps us acquire knowledge because a prerequisite to Torah knowledge is humility. This is why Moshe was picked to receive the Torah (he was the most humble man). Once we internalize emunah, realizing that we don’t know everything, and we let go of our egos, we are able to begin to learn.

    4) This is a very good question! (as were all the others) Seemingly, if we have emunah and bitachon then we shouldn’t have to do anything. Where does hishtadlus come in? Emunah and Bitachon mean that I believe and trust that Hashem will take care of all my needs. However, the way Hashem takes care of my needs is through my hishtadlus. I make an effort to accomplish and Hashem sends me blessings through my efforts. The efforts I make are not the cause of the accomplishment, they are merely a vessel for Hashem to send His Divine blessings through. I do my part, all the while believing that Hashem is responsible for my success and if it is not enough, as long as I did what was responsible for me to do, I trust Hashem will send me what I need in one way or another.

    One unrelated question: What is the best book to learn with someone who is unaffiliated with Breslov thus far and hasn’t had the blessing of a Jewish education?

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