75 words for 75 years of Israel – Emunah/Faith

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!

אֱמוּנָה

EMUNAH

E-MOO-NAH

FAITH

“To proclaim Your steadfast love at daybreak, Your faithfulness each night.” (Psalms 92:3)

להגיד בבקר חסדך ואמונתך בלילות.

“Lo, his spirit within him is puffed up, not upright, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)

הנה עפלה לא ישרה נפשו בו וצדיק באמונתו יחיה.

Emunah, the Hebrew word for “faith” and “belief,” is a foundational part of serving God and living a good life. We are meant to have faith in God and all of God’s ways, accepting that there will always be things our minds cannot and will not understand. Faith begins where logic ends; our rational minds were not created with the capacity to understand everything.

One of the strongest aspects of faith is the belief in the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Age. Maimonides, the great Medieval Jewish scholar, wrote a well-known formulation of this belief that is recited by Jews around the world: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, I still wait for him everyday to come.”

The prophet Habakkuk teaches that the end goal of the 613 commandments is faith. A righteous person does not live in order to have faith; it is his faith that gives him life! For faith is the source of all meaning and purpose in life.

Not only do we have faith in God, but God also has faith in us. Praising God, King David declared “Your faithfulness each night” (Psalms 92:3). The “night” David speaks of represents our moments of spiritual lowliness. Though we may doubt ourselves or even give up during these challenging times, God never gives up on us. As we declare in our very first words of prayer each morning: “I thank you, living and enduring King, for You have graciously returned my soul within me. ‘Rabbah emunatechah,’ abundant is your faithfulness” – in us! We begin each new day by reminding ourselves how much God loves us and believes in our ability to succeed. 

The Israel Bible Team

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