Search
  • Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

But Rabbi, I AM fearful

Elul

Dear Rabbi Lipskier, Your article about Reb Levik, titled “You Afraid?” really got me thinking. I never considered myself a fearful person. Actually, I’m quite bold, especially in business. But when I thought about your question—“How many decisions do we make out of fear?”—I realized that a lot of what I do is in fact driven by fear, of the future, for my reputation etc. Which makes me even more afraid because I have no idea how to change my way of thinking! Especially given the fact that there are many legitimate reasons to be afraid these days—COVID, the economy, politics, etc. Can you please continue this conversation? Sincerely, Finally Facing Fears * * * Dear Fearful, It’s brave of you to face your fears. It’s beyond the scope of this platform to explore all the elements of fear so I’ll stay focused on the direction you took. (Did I write that because I’m afraid you’re expecting me to cover everything here?) The Ben Ish Chai writes[1] a mashal regarding the dreaded disease Cholera that was rampant in his time:

Cholera began to spread. Someone met the angel in charge of the disease and asked him how many people were going to die. “Five thousand,” said the angel. As it turns out, fifteen thousand people died. When he met the angel again and demanded an explanation, the angel insisted, “I didn’t lie. Indeed, fifteen thousand people died, but only five thousand from my sword, the rest from fear.” Fear is one of the strongest forces in existence. If you’re having a difficult time dealing with it, have no fear; you’re not alone. The only true remedy for fear is trust in something bigger than all of our fears. And the only such “thing” is Hashem. But if it’s so simple, why doesn’t it seem to work for some of us? Many of our fears can be summed up as fear of the unknown. In reality, though, we’re not expected to know the future. Our job is to do our best in the present, relying that Hashem will determine the best outcome. Perhaps the reason many of us have a difficult time truly trusting in Hashem is because we’re too busy trying to be Him. The Rebbe once wrote[2] to someone: “… [If] one carries out his life as if his affairs are dependent on himself alone, one makes his life harder.” Society and especially the media urge us to know as much as possible and to make decisions and plans based on this knowledge. The outcome is a world gripped by fear and anxiety. If so, one step we can take immediately is to minimize our intake of this false sense of knowledge and so-called security. The less news we “know,” the better. The other thing we can do is remind ourselves that Hashem runs the world and reflect on His boundless love and caring for us. In the Rebbe’s words[3] to someone who was over-agonizing: “…We are now in the days when we say twice daily Hashem ori v’yishee, mimi ira. Hashem is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? [Meaning, that] through firm trust, in the fullest capacity, without any discussions, arguments or explanations, but rather simply, Hashem is the baal habayis over the entire world and everything in the world is dependent on Him, i.e., ‘His is my light and my salvation,’ then [we come to the conclusion that], ‘from whom shall I fear?’ There’s nothing from which to have fear and nothing to overthink.” These are great steps towards ending this year and beginning the new year on secure, fearless, footing.

May you be blessed with menuchas hanefesh, simcha and with only revealed goodness in your life.

And may we merit the time of Moshiach, when the only “fear” we’ll know is the awesomeness of Hashem. Hatzlocha on your journey! Ksiva V'chasima Tova and Good Shabbos, Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier [1] Ben Yehoyoda to Bava Kama 60b [2] Igros Kodesh vol. 4 pg. 189 [3] Igros Kodesh vol. 15 pg. 375 This Dvar Torah is sponsored by: The Flint family l’zecher nishmas Reb Avraham Michoel ben Yaakov Shimon Halevi a"h

The Moshe Group Moshe and Rivky Majeski