Is this apathy or emuna?

Guest post by Rivka Levy

You know, I thought things were going a little too well the last couple of weeks. The Gemara teaches that if you have 40 days where everything goes your way, you should really start to worry that God has given up on you and that you’re getting your world to come dished out down here.

Thankfully, that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. Usually, I can’t go more than 40 minutes without having some big challenging thing rear up at me. But still, the last couple of weeks have been somewhat easier and calmer than normal. Mostly.

Apart from the fact that one of my kids still doesn’t want to go to school, and often doesn’t. And apart from the fact that none of my books are really selling despite some quite considerable effort on my part to get them noticed. And apart from my husband’s new business that also seems to have kind of flopped. And apart from the unexpected bill he got from one of his suppliers for literally thousands of pounds.

And apart from the fact that the bank (who told us before we signed on our new house that they HAD agreed our mortgage) is now telling us that they’re not 100% sure that’s what they really said.

In the past, any one of these things would have sent me over the edge, and sent my heart racing and my blood pressure leaping up towards the millions, or however you actually measure that stuff.

Now? I’m barely batting an eyelid.

Which is somewhat strange, and also gave me pause for thought, because surely when even your mortgage is not coming through, you should start to panic at least a little bit at that point? Especially if you’ve actually signed the contract and are supposed to be completing in a few months’ time?

So while I was sitting there trying to figure out if all the stress I’ve had over the last five years has literally given me brain damage to the point that I can’t get stressed about anything anymore, not even the stuff you’re supposed to, I asked my husband if he’s also feeling stressed about this stuff, or not.

Strangely, he is also pretty calm.

And his panic button is definitely still working because if you remind him that his whole family is coming to Israel for Pesach, for the first time ever, and will be joining us for Seder, his leg starts tapping all over the place while he’s trying to keep his face suitably ‘poker’.

So what the heck is going on?

Is this emuna, or apathy? And if it’s apathy, is it ‘bad’ apathy where you just kind of lie in the middle of the road waiting for the truck to run you down? Or, is it holy apathy where you just kind of lie in the middle of the road waiting for God to do a miracle that will whisk you out of harm’s way because there is absolutely nothing else to do, at this point?

I don’t know.

Maybe someone out there can tell me.


  1. Rivka,

    WE KNOW that what Hashem does is for the best; so why worry? If Hashem wants me to lose the value of my home that got wrecked, then it must be the right thing and BENEFICIAL! If on the other hand He wants to make my life easy and give me the full value of my home plus some, then THAT must be best. … of course I would much prefer solution #2 exponentially, but if Hashem thinks I need poverty, deprivation, to make up for some sin I have done and have to pay for, whether in this life or in another one; or if the message is simply that time in the Galut is up, and there is no use for a house there anymore: then that is OK too. Bottom line: EVERYTHING is OK, whether good or bad according to our perceptions, wishes and desires.

    What am I trying to say here? it is not that we are resigned, that we have given up: it simply means that we are surrendered to, that we accept the will of Hashem. Is that Emunah? It is certainly not apathy; I think it is better than Emunah: it is PROOF of Emunah; it shows that WE KNOW that WHATEVER Hashem does is really, really for our best.
    Does this Mashal work for you?

  2. It’s seems to me that is a very natural apathy. Give by the years, it’s called experience. But behind it is G.od Almighty.

  3. My background is teaching and psychology. My ex is the son of two survivors. My present spouse is a goy ( my Jewish chidren are grown.) I believe as a people we are more anxious than most others. I discovered thts when I became closer to Ha Shem
    with true emuna-( not the motions and words) I became calmer. BTW, I read you a lot. My book Love and Betrayal- is a novel about Yamit. It didn’t sell well and It’s really good. Who knows what Ha Shem has up his sleeve. Kol Ha Kavod for your work.


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