Bitachon Part 1b – Should We Always Expect the Best?

Continued from here.

We should not doubt bitachon even when we don’t see the yeshua (salvation).

We should not doubt the remarkable power of bitachon even when we don’t actually see the yeshua (salvation). While we may not always see the results of our bitachon, we need to know that it will certainly be successful to impact us with the chessed of Hashem. There are different opinions as to how this occurs.

The Sefer HaIkarim said it is impossible that the one with bitachon will not attain his request if his bitachon in the chessed of Hashem is true and complete. This is also the explicit opinion of the Leshem — “She’ein davar omeid bifnei habitachon — There is nothing which stands before bitachon.”

Rabeinu Yona (Mishlei 10:28) pointed out:

If you don’t attain the matter which you are yearning for, the effect of your yearning will still be the cause for many other significant benefits and kindnesses in the same area which your soul desired, as it says — “v’ha’boteach b’Hashemchessed y’sovevenu — And the one with bitachon in Hashem will be surrounded by chessed.” 

The Ramchal said similarly:

Bitachon in Hashem is a true bitachon… and if [the salvation] is delayed, wait for it; and if it is not in this world, it will be in Olam Haba (the world to come). But it is impossible that your hope will be lost forever.

Rabeinu Yona and the Ramchal agreed with the Sefer HaIkarim and the Leshem that it is not possible for one who has bitachon in Hashem not to be successful in having the chessed Hashem express itself all around him. Hashem has promised His chessed to those with bitachon in Him. This promise is certain, and independent of any condition at all. Their disagreement is simply the degree to which this chessed will be specifically according to the request and hope of the one with the bitachon.

While the mitzvah of tefillah (prayer) requires that we ask of Hashem whatever we ourselves perceive to be our needs, we understand that only Hashem knows what is truly good.

The same is true with the mitzvah of bitachon. G-d’s will is that we have bitachon in His chessed, and strengthen ourselves that what we see as our salvation will really come. But, even so, we need to understand that only the Hashgacha Elyonah (G-d’s elevated supervision of the world) knows what is really best for us.

In terms of hopes, prayers, and requests which are not answered as we would like, the Sefer HaIkarim (4:24) points out a fundamental principle:

Sometimes a tefillah which one thinks is best is not accepted, not because of any transgressions, but because it is simply not what Hashem wants

[In addition,] if Hashem knows that this request will not be good for the person, then it will [also] not be accepted…

Therefore, an ideal tefillah for a chacham (wise person) would be — “Master of the Universe — Do Your Will in the Heavens above and grant satisfaction to those who fear You below. Do whatever is best in Your eyes… In other words, whatever I daven before You, don’t pay attention to my [specific] words and my requests to do what my heart desires or what I request. Many times I request and daven for what is not good for me because I imagine that it will be good. But You know much more than me if this matter is good for me or bad. Therefore, You should decide and not me. Do what You know is good, and not what is merely good in my own eyes.”

Our Rabbis thus said (Brachot 54a, 60b) — “One is obligated to bless on the bad just like he is obligated to bless on the good.” This is because the real evaluation of the good is only with Hashem, not with man.

The most proper prayer is, therefore, general, and not too specific. Otherwise, it is as if we are trying to force the ratzon Hashem (Will of G-d) to what we think is best, and not trying to force our own will to be more like the ratzon Hashem.      

Similarly, the Rashash (Brachot 16b) pointed out:

We ask Hashem “l’malei mishaloseinu l’tova — to fulfill our requests for good” [in general terms] because [we understand that] some specific requests which appear proper in our eyes are not really the best for us.

Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur) explained:

Bitachon flows from one’s emunah (belief) in hashgacha pratit (Divine Supervision). Even with bitachon, however, it is impossible for us to think that everything which occurs will be exclusively tov v’chessed (good and kindness). There is also the trait of din (judgment), as well as tests and decrees [from Heaven]. How does one with bitachon accept all of this? 

The depth of bitachon is that a person knows he is in the reliable hands of his Creator, and everything that He gives him is measured and with justice.

The nature of man is to take all of the kindness of Hashem as if it is expected. He never asks why Hashem has given him so much more than he deserves. However, when Hashem takes from him through the trait of judgment, he immediately asks why this is happening to him. He views the middat hadin (the trait of judgment) as if it were a thief taking what is his with no justification.

This is the point that Iyov (Job) made — “Hashem natan (G-d gave)” and I didn’t ask any questions, “V’Hashem lakach (and G-d took)” and I am also not asking any questions. And with both aspects, both chessed (kindness) and din (judgment) — “Y’hi sheim Hashem m’vorach — I will bless Hashem” — since He knows what is really best for me.

This is bitachon. A person knows — in other words, his soul knows — that he is in the trustworthy hands of Hashem. And this is how the Chovot haLevavot (Sha’ar Bitachon, Chapter 1) expressed it — “The essence of bitachon (trust in anyone) is menuchat nefesh (peace of mind); one’s heart is relying on whomever he is trusting that he will only do whatever is good and proper for him.” [And we need to realize that] this is speaking about peace of mind and the reliance of one’s heart, not [merely] an intellectual awareness.

This should be l’zechut ul’iluy nishmat Ruchama Rivka, a”h, bat Asher Zevulun 

More articles on this and related topics can be found on the Jewish Clarity web site.

Read part 2 here