Looking for Emes (Truth)

June 24, 2002 written by Moshe

The majority of people want to be where there is truth and morality. There are few who desire evil, but those individuals are rare. If truth is what you desire the most, do not look for it in the masses that are disillusioned. People feel that the truth is hard to find. They search high and low and run in every direction possible, seeking the emes (truth) only to come up empty handed. They become discouraged in their efforts, not realizing that in reality they do not know where to look. It is not where there is great glory. It is hidden in the little shul (synagogue) that no one goes to anymore. It is where there are small numbers of dedicated, G-d fearing Jews. The emes you search for is with the Tzaddikim and holy people who sacrifice their very being to do the will of Hashem.

Rabbi Noson Maimon said, “Everyone thinks pure emes is with the large crowds of Jewish branches, you know where it lies, it is with the Rebbe’s who have great Bears for Chassidim (followers).” He went on to say, it is not the numbers that count but the quality of the Rebbe and his followers.

The usual reason why a person would choose wrong instead of the emes is because they are running away. What are they running from? They are running from the truth buried inside their soul that yearns to lead them. They are confused as to what is the truth because they are running away from what their soul really wants and running after their worldly possessions.

Were we, the Jewish people, truly cast into exile or did we run away? Were we doing what was expected of us as the “light unto the nations”, or were we curious about the ways of the goyim (gentiles)? Hashem does not enjoy throwing His beloved children around the globe.

By Har Sinai we knew that Moshe (Moses) was going to return to us with the luchos (the stone tablets in which the ten commandments were inscribed on). B’nei Yisroel had miscalculated the number of days in which Moshe had left to receive the Torah from Hashem. Our faith was shaken and we ran away from the Torah that we were about to receive, to find refuge and answers in a false god, the golden calf? Does this story, that we have all leant since we were children, not seem strange? We’ve heard it so many times that we just accept it, but how could it be that our faith was so weak? Here we were a nation thrown into bondage for hundreds of years, tortured and degraded. We prayed everyday that our salvation would come. Finally our prayers were answered and Hashem sent us his messenger, Moshe Rabbeinu, to our rescue. Hashem didn’t just take us out; He performed countless miracles for the world to witness. He then brought us through the desert where, again, He showed us His great power and glory with more wonders. It would be a mistake on our part to think that B’nei Yisroel had simply forgotten all of this when they served the eigel (golden calf). They knew that the Torah was the emes. They didn’t really think that this inanimate object, in which they created, had any powers. They were overcome with fear. Not an outward fear, but one that is subconscious. Idolatry was so engrained in them that once they were faced with possible failure or rejection they crumbled and succumb to their yetzer hara.

Is our generation any different today than that of Har Sinai? We shun their lack of loyalty to Hashem but yet we turn our backs on our Creator in an instant, when we find ourselves in a difficult predicament. We give into our temptations out of fear. It is not because we don’t know right from wrong. We fear either the opinions of our peers, or as outlandish as it may sound, we might be afraid of attempting to draw close to Hashem. We are frightened that if we attempt to do the right thing then there won’t be any turning back. We will then be obligated to always do what is right. We will have to say no to ourselves. Nowadays when we are tested we turn to a far worse idol then the generation by Har Sinai. Their worship of the eigel was nothing more than a redirecting of a desire to serve an omnipotent being. Today we wish to worship our selves and money.

During the morning prayers there are three sections prior to reciting Shemoneh Esrei. What do most of us do, we try hard to concentrate during the first three parts and then when we arrive at Shemoneh Esrei, we run away by holding back. We speed through the tefillah (prayer) only giving attention to the sections that refer to our needs and pleas. How can we hold back and not pray at the level in which we stand?

The generations before us had a much higher standard when it came to truth. Today we are too lazy to seek out truth and in a certain aspect it is much easier to find. Do you know how many days it took a follower to travel to his Rebbe? Are you aware of how many months it would take a person to travel to Israel? These former generations may not have been able to travel lands and oceans quickly but when it came to their being, they knew how to travel to their souls.

Right here in front of us is a soul ready to sore to the greatest heights. You know why insomnia is so great today? It is because before going to bed we are so out of touch with our souls. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov says that sleep is emunah (faith) in Hashem. Who are the people that cannot sleep, those who have fears and anxiety. If only we sought more to relate to our souls, we would fall asleep instantly. Our soul is so holy and divine it is ready to fly yet we are too attached to worldly distractions, and are too afraid of failure. When doing a mitzvah we should never be ashamed our afraid of being too frum (religious). We should be afraid of before Whom we stand. We should have faith in ourselves to make the right decisions, and always think to yourself before you do anything, am I running to, our from Hashem and myself.