22. Percentage of Emunah

I want you to imagine that you’re standing on a balcony. You’re looking down at the traffic 40 feet below, and you lean over because you notice something very clear over there. And as you lean a little bit suddenly a wind comes, oh, and you almost fall. Oh my goodness! You step back, you kind of catch yourself, and you see that your pulse is racing. Your heart is beating faster than it ever has before. Now here’s the question: Why are you filled with fear? Well, the answer is because you almost fell 40 feet to the concrete below. Now, that’s rather interesting, because you probably never fell 40 feet below to the concrete, how do you know that that would end badly? How do you know that it would hurt? The answer is there are some things we know intuitively, instinctively. We don’t have to experience or go through it to clearly understand that falling 40 feet to the concrete below will end very, very badly.

That is a yediah (knowledge). We’re supposed to know that Hashem is present, we’re supposed to be fully cognizant of it in exactly that manner. You see, we make a fundamental mistake about bitachon (trust) and emunah (belief). We think it’s 100 percent or it’s nothing. As in when I have a crisis, where is my bitachon, where is my emunah? The answer is bitachon and emunah is always measured in percentages. What percentage of clarity do I have? How clearly do I see Hashem here? Ten percent, 15 percent? As we go through life, as we grow, we try to increase it and increase it. The ultimate goal is to be 100 percent. The tzadikim (righteous people) of earlier generations, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, were very close to that level. We’ll never be there, but our goal is to grow and increase. To get from 10 percent to 20 percent. But more than anything to see Hashem, to know that Hashem is present, to know that Hashem is directly involved in the running of our lives.