Today’s learning is dedicated to the refuah sheleima of Simcha Nosson ben Zissel.
A person who trusts in Hashem fears nothing. — Sefer HaMiddos, Trust # 1
Trust in Hashem brings peace. — Sefer HaMiddos, Trust # 2
Faith brings to trust in Hashem. — Sefer HaMiddos, Trust # 4
When one trust in Hashem, the Holy One saves him from all anguish. — Sefer HaMiddos, Trust # 7
Trust in Hashem saves one from worry. — Sefer HaMiddos, Trust # 9
We previously discussed some of the harmful effects of fear and anxiety. In this post, we will focus on the power of faith and trust (Emunah and Bitachon).
Many seforim are dedicated to this topic alone, as there is much to be said regarding the incredible ripple effects of trust. We will discuss just a few of the benefits enjoyed when a person lives with confidence in Hashem.
The first step is to understand that faith and trust have the ability to create change. We tend to fear the unknown; we fear the things that are beyond our control. But in truth, our fate and destiny depend on our level of faith and trust.
The Hebrew word for fate or destiny is Mazal. On a very basic level, when a person is born into this world, Hashem turns to the stars and determines the persons future based on the position of the constellations. However, we are taught that we have the strength to rewrite the future.
When Hashem assured Avraham that his children would grow to be a great nation, He told Avraham to gaze at the stars. The wording of the verse indicates that Hashem raised Avraham above the stars and instructed him to look downwards. Meaning, Hashem was showing Avraham that we are above fate or mazal. Through faith and trust, we determine our future.
Similarly, the Talmud states, “Yisrael has no mazal.” Even after Hashem has issued a decree, we have the power to appease Him and influence a change.
(This is why we continue to pray for aid and salvation throughout the year even though we are taught that our fate for the year is sealed on Yom Kippur. We know that there is always hope, we know that it is never too late.)
As the Talmud states, “Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy.”
We mentioned that excessive fear and anxiety can bring harm that was previously nonexistent. Conversely, faith and trust can spare a person from all danger. As the verse in Mishlei states, “A man’s fear will place a snare, but one who relies on Hashem will be fortified.” Fear creates risk; trust creates protection.
Dovid HaMelech writes, “Hashem is with me, I have no fear; what can man do to me?” The Beis HaLevi understands this to mean that because “I have no fear,” therefore no one can harm me. Trust is our shield and armor.
Similarly, Rabbeinu Bachya compares a person with bitachon to someone standing in a strong fortified tower, where nothing can harm him. As Rebbe Nachman teaches, “A person who trusts in Hashem fears nothing.”
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt’l asks how the Jewish people were permitted to enter battle and put their life at risk. He answers, since the people had complete trust in Hashem, they were not in any danger. Indeed, they emerged victorious.
Rabbi David Sutton writes that sometimes we experience fear and anxiety simply because we forget that Hashem is always with us, always protecting us. He compares this to a person wearing a bulletproof vest, walking down a street in a crime-ridden neighborhood. He sees someone approaching and he is frightened. But this fear is only because he forgot about his vest. Rabbi Sutton suggests that when we experience fear or anxiety, we should remind ourselves of our inherent protection, the shield of Hashem.
As the Baal Shem Tov teaches, “Always be happy. Think and believe with perfect faith that the Divine Presence is always near you and is watching over you. You can look toward your Creator, and He looks at you.”
When we remember that Hashem is with us, we can remain calm and collected under all circumstances. As Dovid HaMelech writes, “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Trust provides tranquility. We tend to believe that we know what is best for us. When things don’t go according to plan, we are left feeling upset or sad. But when we truly believe that everything is sent directly from Hashem and that whatever happens is ultimately for our benefit, we remove all worry and concern. By trusting in Hashem, we no longer feel the need to control the outcome; we are able to submit to Hashem’s Will.
In this way, fear and anxiety lead to anger and depression, whereas faith and trust lead to peace and serenity.
Trust also creates the opportunity to receive blessings and good fortune. As Rebbe Nachman teaches, “When you trust in Hashem and you look to Him for all your needs, a vessel is formed with which you can receive His blessing. What you need will be sent to you when you require it.”
Similarly, Rav Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin explains that Hashem has many gifts He wishes to bestow upon us (good health, financial success, etc.). However, for us to receive these gifts, we must pray to Hashem sincerely. Hashem therefore places us in an uncertain situation, so we can turn to Him in prayer and strengthen our trust, thereby making us worthy of His gift.
Through faith and trust, we can turn fear into opportunity.
In our next post, we will discuss how we can attain and strengthen our faith and trust. We will also discuss how this shift in mindset can help us overcome the various challenges we face.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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