People keep on asking me what we named our daughter. After they hear the name, Emunah, they ask what does that mean. I know the simple answer would be ‘faith’, but that does not exactly articulate our intention. While I am a Rabbi, faith is not something that comes easily to me and not a name that I would necessarily give our daughter. I found this quote by Martin Buber in his book Two Types of Faith that seems to get a little closer.
Buber writes, “This ‘existential’ characteristic of Emunah is not sufficiently expressed in the translation ‘faith’, although the verb often does mean to believe (to believe someone, to believe a thing). It must further be noticed that the conception includes the two aspects of a reciprocity of permanence: the active, ‘fidelity’, and the receptive, ’trust’. If we wish to do justice to the intention of the spirit of the language which is so expressed, then we ought not to understand ’trust’ merely in a psychical sense, as we do not with ’fidelity’. The soul is as fundamentally concerned in the one as in the other, but is decisive for both that the disposition of the soul should become an attitude of life. Both, fidelity and trust, exist in the actual realm of relationship between two persons. Only in the full actuality of such a relationship can one be both loyal and trusting.” (28-29)
While we hope that our daughter Emunah develop a deep relationship with God, we are more interested in her deeds then her creed. We strive to model for Emunah healthy and open relationships with each other, our community, and the world. I hope over time that my faith and our daughter Emunah prove “to both loyal and trusting”.
Faith is not always some things that I can beleive in , but I feel that Buber’s ‘faith’ is one that I can strive for and work on. Tell me what you think.