The Truth is in Belief
“Many Israelis don’t believe their Arab neighbors, the media or state institutions. They only believe Netanyahu,” said Israel’s world-famous historian and social analyst Prof. Yuval Noah Harari in mid-November.
“Other Israelis do not believe a single word from Netanyahu. Even if he says with authority that one and one equals two, this is immediately suspect to them. ‘Hm, two? How is he trying to trick us this time?’”
Faith is an important factor that moves our lives, often more than people understand. Everyone has their own reasons as to whether, why and what they believe. Sometimes I think that belief is one of the common senses like sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Faith is an inner connection to something. Belief is a human instinct. People feel safe and protected in their faith. Belief in one God gives people comfort, strength and courage.
Israel’s first declaration of independence was not that of 1948, but was already enshrined in the Ten Commandments. The first commandment already speaks about faith in God: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” So God insists on our faith. He conveys security, care and love. The second commandment affirms the first, that we should not serve any other gods. “I have chosen the way of faith and submitted to your ordinances,” said David in the Psalms. The Hebrew word for faith emunah (אמונה) appears several times in the Bible and is always denotes trust between man and God. People have always pondered what it is they live for. Does our life actually have a purpose? This universal truth was established between God and man in the Ten Commandments.
The root of the Hebrew word for faith is amen (אמן). This is a word with which you all are certainly familiar, as it has been the traditional ending to Christian prayers for centuries. So, when you finish your prayers, you are closing with “I believe” in Hebrew. This root word is one of the most interesting in the Hebrew language because it underlies important vocabulary. Loyalty (נאמנות), reliability (אמינות), coach (מאמן), nanny (אומנת) and integrity (אֵמון). But the Hebrew word for truth emet (אמת) is also a clear branch from the word faith. The common thread that connects all these words in Hebrew is the feeling of security and trust in the truth on which we can rely.
The truth is in belief. And we can choose what to believe and to whom to submit, as King David reflected. He chose God, but other people have chosen other things, a guru, money or themselves. Some believe Netanyahu, others do not. The same goes for Trump and everything else in life. People parties and religions are all competing for our faith. In the New Testament, Jesus once said that faith can move mountains and that truth sets people free. In a figurative sense, faith can actually move mountains and make the impossible possible. And that forms our truth.
Just as the two Hebrew words for faith and truth are very closely related in an etymological sense, so too are they linked in purpose. We affirm the truth in our beliefs, which is why our choice of what or in whom to believe is so important. But it’s not only a human choice. Faith is also a gift from God and reflects His truth.