And They Believed in Hashem

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor

Emunah (belief) fundamentally means "steadfastness," to remain in one place and not to move away.

In the war with Amalek, it says about Moshe that "his hands were steadfast (Vayehi yadav Emunah) until sunset" (17:12).

Another example is, "He does not remain still (Lo Yaamin, the same root) at the sound of the Shofar" (Iyov 39:24).

First it is stated that “the people feared Hashem", which signifies Emunah as an entire belief system  (as it is usually understood, in the sense of belief).

Subsequently, it is stated that "they believed (vayaaminu) in Hashem" ,meaning that the Jews remained forever steadfast in loyalty to Him, in their trust in Him and in their service to Him, and they never forsook this loyalty, so that there always will be a nation of loyal Jews.

"And they believed in (were loyal to) Hashem" forever - "and in his servant, Moshe".

The belief in the excellence of Moshe is the foundation of belief , as in "this Torah which Moshe put before the sons of Israel" (Dvarim 4:44), so that subsequently no man could claim that he was privileged with greater prophecy than Moshe possessed, and could attempt to abrogate the Torah of Moshe or propose substitutes.

The belief in Moshe was the cause of loyalty to the Torah--called Toras Moshe  throughout the Holy Scriptures--because the people heard the Torah of Hashem from the mouth of Moshe. (note that the last of the prophets, Malachi, calls on the Jews to remember the Torah of Moshe, saying: Zichru Toras Moshe avdi,  Malachi 3)

This is the pathway of righteousness: from belief (loyalty) in Hashem one progresses to the Torah of Moshe. Thus "You shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart... (and therefore) these words that I command you today shall be upon your heart" (Dvarim 6:5-6).

But had not “the people believed" (4:31) already, when they had witnessed the signs which Moshe and Aharon had performed? After seeing such convincing miracles, would any doubt have been possible?

Emunah is not mere conviction, but rather a state of Perfection of the mind which has unlimited potential development. Every additional degree of this quality, which we shall call Awareness, is a very great gift from Hashem.

The episode of the Sea of Suf (Reed Sea) was a grand opportunity whereby Israel gained a higher degree of Emunah, and for this superlative gift they sang their song of thanks to Hashem.

Yet even this degree of Awareness which they now received was a preface to a still higher degree of Emunah which was yet to come.