Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“And Your Faith is in the Nights…”

The Yismach Yisroel, zt”l, writes in the name of the holy Zohar that while matzah is the food of faith, the sukkah is the shade of faith. On Sukka 27 we find a clear parallel drawn between the two festivals. “Just as it is a duty to eat matzah on the first night of Pesach which begins of the fifteenth of the month, so too is it a duty to eat in the sukkah on the first night of Sukkos which begins on the fifteenth of the month.” Faith is mainly developed during the “nights,” in the darkness of mental obscurity. As the verse says, “Your faith is in the nights.” (Tehillim 92:3) What one grasps with the light of one’s intellect is not faith, emunah; it is knowledge, or yediah. Faith is that which transcends what one can grasp at the present time. During Sukkos, emunah surrounds us, and on Pesach we absorb it into our innermost being. This process must be reflected in our actions—if not, the emunah is not really genuine.

David Ben Gurion went to meet with the Chazon Ish, zt”l, and tried to convince the gadol to overturn his adamant opposition to the draft of religious girls into the Israeli army.

During the presentation of his case, Ben Gurion said to the Chazon Ish, “I am also a believer!”

“Really,” replied the gadol. “And how does that obligate you?” he asked.

“This does not obligate me in any way whatsoever,” responded the Prime Minister.

“It would be interesting to know which philosopher asserts that belief in something does not obligate one to do anything,” chided the Chazon Ish.

Ben Gurion was silent as the gadol concluded, “If you find any truly deep thinker who does make this claim, let me know. I find the concept very interesting!”

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