Bitachon, trust in G-d, is one of the foundations of our relationship with Hashem. How do we apply this essential principle when facing significant difficulties in our lives? Should it depend upon our merits? These classical sources should help us to understand what bitachon actually means. This is Rabbi Resnick’s first of two essays addressing the topic.
The Chazon Ish discussed the meaning of bitachon and what to expect of life in his classic work — Emunah u’Bitachon (Chap. 2):
There is an old misconception rooted in the hearts of many when it comes to bitachon (trust in G-d). This term… has been transformed into the concept that there is an obligation to believe that, in any situation in which a person finds himself, where he faces an uncertain future with two [different] paths — one good and the other not — that the good outcome will certainly occur. And if one is doubtful and concerned for the possibility of the negative occurring, he [must then] be lacking in bitachon. This understanding of bitachon is not correct, for as long as the future has not been revealed through prophecy, the future has not been decided. [After all,] who knows G-d’s judgments and rewards?
Rather, bitachon is [simply] the belief that there is nothing random in the world, and that everything which occurs under the sun is the result of a decree from Hashem.
When one internalizes this clear reality, that there is no chance misfortune, but rather all is from Hashem, for better or for worse; when one allows one’s emunah (belief) to alleviate the fear and give one the courage to believe in the possibility of salvation… then one has achieved bitachon in Hashem.
Part of this trait of bitachon is to be steadfast in one’s emunah even when one considers the possibility of yissurim (difficulties). One’s heart must maintain its awareness that this is not a random misfortune, for there are no random occurrences in the world at all; everything is from Hashem.
According to this, emunah and bitachon in Hashem are one and the same — emunah is the general perspective of the believing person, and bitachon is the person’s perspective in terms of himself; with emunah being the theory, and bitachon being the practice.
There is more to the trait of bitachon — for a holy spirit rests on the one who has bitachon in Hashem, accompanied by a strength of spirit that tells him that Hashem will indeed help him, as David HaMelech said — “If you bring an army upon me, my heart will have no fear; if a war comes upon me, in this I will have bitachon.” This matter varies according to the level of the person’s bitachon and his degree of holiness.
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Rabbi Asher Resnick serves as a senior lecturer at Aish HaTorah’s Executive Learning Center, and is a senior training lecturer for Aish’s Rabbinical Ordination program. As a close student of Rav Noach Weinberg, zt”l, he developed a special expertise in addressing fundamental issues in Judaism, as well as in bringing classical texts to life. As a bereaved parent, Rabbi Resnick’s extensive writings on loss, suffering and trauma provide a sensitive Jewish perspective on coping with these fundamental life cycle issues. OlamiResources.com is happy to highlight several essays over the coming months featured on his website JewishClarity.com. This essay should be l’zechut ul’iluy nishmat Ruchama Rivka, a”h, bat Asher Zevulun.