Rebbe Nachman therefore explains that the purpose of knowledge is to know that we know nothing whatsoever. As our perception of Hashem increases, we realize in an even greater way that there is now so much more of His greatness that we can’t grasp. We can experience this in our own lives. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a pickle, and we question how we can possibly be rescued from our current situation. Later, when we are indeed saved, we realize how silly we were for doubting Hashem’s numerous ways.
The more we realize that we just don’t know, the more room we have to cultivate emuna. What this means is that the purpose of knowledge is to come to an ever-higher level of emuna!
Perhaps you still think that emuna is merely an essential ingredient?
Because emuna is our ultimate destination and the final purpose of knowledge, before we venture off on a spiritual journey, we gird ourselves with emuna. Our parsha therefore says, “B’zos yavo Aharon el hakodesh—With this Aharon will come to the Kodesh” (Vayikra 17:3).
What is “zos”? The Zohar explains that zos is a reference to Hashem’s Rulership (Malchus) which is revealed on earth through our emuna in Him (Tikkunei Zohar 110d). Thus, only with emuna can Aharon approach the Kodesh, which can also refer to a holy and profound understanding of Hashem. Only with emuna can we grow and reach greatness.
The kohen would thus declare before doing battle: “Shema Yisrael! You are about to join in battle against your enemy. Don’t let your heart weaken, don’t fear…” (Devarim 20:3). Chazal explain that the Torah chooses the words Shema Yisrael because even if the Jews had no other merit besides for reciting Shema—our daily proclamation of emuna—they would still be worthy of victory.
On a deeper level, this war is being waged every day. These are the battles we engage in with our yetzer hara and his many temptations and schemes. These tests and challenges can be very frightening, and many don’t even try to do battle because they are paralyzed by the fear of losing. But if we strengthen ourselves with emuna, we have nothing to fear because emuna is the greatest attribute and is the very purpose of life. How can anything, whether spiritual or physical, ever stand in its way?
Emuna also tells us that Hashem is unfathomably awesome and even though we might not understand how we are going to win or why we are going through these difficulties, He has a plan, and we should not be scared. Our job is to simply remain faithful to Him to the best of our abilities.
David HaMelech therefore says, “Should an army besiege me, my heart would have no fear; should war beset me, still would I be confident. V’zos—And with this, I am assured” (Tehillim 27:3). With emuna in Hashem we can be calm and confident because when we act with emuna, “Hashem is with me and I will not fear” (ibid., 118:6).
Yirmiyahu HaNavi saw the destruction of the Kodesh of Aharon. He understand that the Jews would be exiled far from home for many years and that their challenges would be mighty and awesome. He therefore said, “Zos—This I answer to my heart, therefore I have hope” (Eicha 3:21). No matter what we face, and however downtrodden we may be, because we hold on to the purpose of it all—emuna—there is every reason to have hope.
Let us have emuna and let us hope and wait for the great day that is soon to come, Amen!
Likutey Halachos, Hilchos Giluach 3