SEVEN PILLARS OF FAITH
By Rabbi Yitzchak Breiter
"Trust in G-d and do good, dwell in the land and feed off faith" ( Psalms 37:3 ).
1. G-d controls everything
Everything in the entire universe is under G-d's control. This includes everything that happens to you personally, both spiritually and materially, including what you yourself do, whether deliberately or unwittingly, willfully or under compulsion: everything is from G-d. Even when appearances suggest otherwise, the believer pays attention not to the external appearance of this world but to the underlying truth.
Everything we do is ultimately controlled by G-d, though this is concealed from us by our egos, which make us think we are separate from and independent of G-d. We were created like this to give us free will. This way we are able to turn to G-d of our own volition and discover for ourselves that G-d controls all things, including our own thoughts, feelings and actions.
Even though all things in the spiritual and material realms are in G-d's hands, we are not supposed to wait for G-d to do everything. The universe is so arranged that we have freedom of action in many areas. When we act, whether it be to make a living or to attend to any of our other needs, we must understand that, while it is up to us to take the initiative and act as if everything is in our hands, in fact all things ultimately depend upon G-d. No matter what we feel we ought to do, whether in our spiritual or material lives, our first step should always be to ask G-d to guide us and bless our efforts with success.
When things appear to turn out badly for us, we have to accept that this is G-d's will and that whatever happens is for the best. Even when things go wrong because of something we ourselves may have thought, said or done, we must accept that this too is from G-d. Other people are also free agents, yet everything they do is ultimately controlled by G-d. If someone insults you or in some way harms you, know that this has been sent by G-d as a way to cleanse your soul. If things go against you, be patient. When you accept everything as G-d's will, this causes the veil of concealment to be removed, thus manifesting G-d's control over all creation.
Your spiritual growth is also under G-d's control. Even if you feel a desire to grow in a specific area, as long as you are not ready to achieve what you want, things will be arranged in such a way as to hold you back - either by external obstacles or through some idea that becomes implanted in your own mind to prevent you from reaching your goal. This does not mean that G-d is rejecting you. He knows that in the long run this will be the best way to bring you to the ultimate good. The purpose of holding you back is to prompt you to cry out and pray to G-d to help you rise from your current level and bring you nearer your true goal.
6. Revelation and guidance
Since G-d is everywhere and in all things, everything we experience is actually a communication from G-d. This includes our inner thoughts and feelings. Even negative thoughts and feelings - heaviness, lack of enthusiasm, depression and the like - are from G-d. Everything you hear, see, or experience in life, whether from people you know or from complete strangers, is a call to you from G-d. Even unclear or contradictory messages are sent with a purpose: to give us choice and free will in order to test us. The way to sort out which messages we should follow and which we should ignore is by evaluating everything in the light of Torah teaching.
7. The Wise Man-Tzaddik
Faith in G-d includes faith in the Tzaddikim whom G-d sends into this world to teach us how to transcend our lowly state and fulfill our spiritual destiny. Not only must we accept that G-d gave the Torah to Moses on Sinai; we must also acknowledge that G-d sends wise men in every age to lift us out of our exile and teach us the true path in life.