Emunah - Faith in God: A Perspective

Emunah - Faith in God: A Perspective Herschel

Loosely translated as faith in God, emuna is considered the cornerstone of Jewish belief and practice. In the Greek, it is pistis. What does the term emuna mean?


The first point is that emuna does not imply blind faith. In the Aleinu l’shabeich prayer, we proclaim: “And you shall know today, and take to heart, that God is the only God…”. We are instructed to ‘know’ that God exists.

Emuna involves both the mind and the heart. On the one hand, it can begin in the mind as intellectual Emuna, formed after hard rational work and inquiry. Ultimate contemplation of the world and how it could not be created other than by an infinite Being will help us achieve this intellectual faith.

Knowing in our minds that our Creator is there, is the first step. However, in time and with repeated practice, emuna can melt into the heart. After we readily acknowledge that God is the vital part of our life and never leaves, we can work on developing loyalty to God with that knowledge. Rather than remaining only a pure intellectual belief, emuna should be defined as the act of being faithful or loyal to HaShem, as one pleads allegiance to a king. And, Yeshua, the King of Kings, is worthy of our allegiance, our loyalty and our fidelity, because we are commanded to love and serve Him (avodah) with all our heart, soul and strength! It is the basic requirement of any healthy intimate relationship with Yeshua and demands constant reinforcement.

On the other hand, emunah can also be internally grasped in an act of divine grace. It happened to me. In a moment, I believed. I wasn’t entirely sure of exactly what I believed at that moment, but without a shadow of doubt I believed that Yeshua was my Jewish M