"Not so my servant Moses, he is the most faithful of all the people." (Num. 12:7)

In Chasidic literature, this Torah reading is considered a prime source for the mitzvah to have faith in G‑d. G‑d declares the above verse in defense of Moses from the insinuations leveled against him by his brother Aaron and sister Miriam after he separated from his wife.

The Maggid of Mezeritch taught that this shows the greatness of Moses. Despite his consummate grasp of Creation's mysteries and profound understanding of the source of every mitzvah, he nevertheless chose to serve G‑d with plain, simple, straight forward, unequivocal faith. The Torah testifies that he was utterly faithful. If one has no faith in G‑d, then one can't even begin to keep the Torah at all….

What is this simple unequivocal faith in G‑d? The Slonimer Rebbe in Netivot Shalom (vol.1, Netiv Yesodei HaTorah, 1:8) explains that it is a faith which is unadulterated by the ego. All mitzvot require clarity, and all the more so the mitzvah of faith, since it is the foundation for the performance of all the rest of the mitzvot. The BaHaG, one of the early works to enumerate the 613 mitzvot of the Torah, in opposition to the RaMBaM and others, doesn't include the mitzvah to have faith in G‑d as of the 613 mitzvot. The RaMBaN (in his glosses to the RaMBaM's Sefer HaMitzvot) explains that the BaHaG only included laws or commandments which instruct us what to do or not to do. Faith is the source from which all the mitzvot originate. If one doesn't keep a certain mitzvah, then one is deficient only in that particular mitzvah. However, if one has no faith in G‑d, then one can't even begin to keep the Torah at all.

One of the most profound paths towards clarity in faith is a path of simplicity and humility, putting aside any accomplishments that one has made using one's intellectual and emotional faculties. It requires one to approach divine service with the innocence and security of a small child who believes with absolute faith that his father and mother can do anything. It is unequivocal faith and trust.

The Baal Shem Tov, the spiritual master of the Maggid of Mezeritch, was the embodiment of simple, unequivocal faith. Near the end of his days he was known to have said, "Even after all of my advances in spirituality and achievements in knowing the ways of G‑d, I am prepared to forfeit them all. Instead, I embrace only plain, simple and unequivocal faith in G‑d. The verse says, "There is nothing but Him" (Deut. 4:35) - there is nothing else besides G‑d. I take that literally. I'm like a fool (child) who believes everything."

[Based on Netivot Shalom and other sources in Chasidut and Kabbala; first published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Beshalach 5760; www.nishmas.org]