When topics like how people can strengthen themselves in bitachon are discussed, some assume that this pertains primarily to the many in our community who are struggling with parnassah, or facing some sort of personal challenge.
In reality, not only is each and every one of us obligated to constantly seek to fortify and elevate our level of bitachon, it is in the areas that we don’t struggle that we are actually in a greater need of working on bitachon.
Chazal (Sotah 48b) teach us that “whoever has a piece of bread in his basket and says. ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’” belongs to the k’tanei emunah — those who have little emunah. The second Belzer Rebbe, Harav Yehoshua, zy”a, taught that such an individual is considered lacking in emunah not merely because he is worrying about tomorrow. It is also because the fact that he is worrying about tomorrow and not about today indicates that he fails to realize that the piece of bread in his basket is also dependent on the kindness of Hashem.
As history has repeatedly taught us, parnassah is solely in the Hands of Hashem, and in a split moment a tycoon can lose all his riches, and a pauper can achieve great wealth. Neither past poverty nor financial success is any indication of what the next hour can bring.
Chazal (Taanis 31a) teach us that on 15 Av and Yom Kippur, the daughters of the residents of Yerushalayim would gather in the vineyards for the purpose of shidduchim. Those who came from distinguished families would say that they are a most suitable match in light of their yichus. Others would cite other attributes they had. Those who did not have any of these attributes would urge, “Acquire your purchase l’shem Shamayim … and only on the condition that after marriage you adorn us with gold jewelry.”
The noted maggid, Harav Yaakov Galinsky, zt”l, wondered about this Chazal. It seems difficult to comprehend that those who have neither yichus nor any other positive attribute to tell of, and the only reason to pursue such a shidduch is “l’shem Shamayim,” still have the chutzpah to demand a condition — that they also are given gold jewelry.
Harav Galinsky gives a very profound and powerful explanation. Those who came from prestigious families relied on their yichus, and found it unrealistic to make any demands. But those who must ask that the shidduch be done l’shem Shamayim relied on bitachon alone. One relies on the Ribbono shel Olam, since there is no limit to what Hashem can give us, and so they felt comfortable asking for jewelry as well.
This week the Torah teaches us a most powerful lesson in bitachon in regard to Shemittah.
“If you will say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year, for we will not sow and we will not gather in our crop?’ I will command My blessings for you in the sixth year and it will produce a crop that will suffice for three years” (Vayikra 25:20-21).
In his sefer Noam Elimelech, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a, relates in the name of his brother, the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anipoli:
The Torah often writes an extra word or even an extra letter through which many questions are answered. However, the Torah generally writes answers, and does not pose the question itself. Here the Torah could have stated, “I will command My blessings for you in the sixth year and it [the land] will produce a crop that will suffice for three years,” and the question “What will we eat…?” would be answered without being explicitly asked. Why did the Torah choose to verbalize the question?
The Rebbe Reb Zusha explains that when the Ribbono shel Olam created the world, He prepared conduits to provide mankind’s sustenance in comfort. However, when an individual fails to have proper bitachon in Hashem, this causes the bounty of sustenance to stop flowing; and the Ribbono shel Olam must then command anew that the sustenance should flow again.
The Torah is teaching us that man’s bitachon in Hashem should never waver; he should not ask, “What will we eat?” for such questions block the “pipelines” and we are matriach (so to speak) Hashem to command again the flowing of parnassah. Rather, one should fortify oneself with emunah and bitachon, and then the bounty of parnassah can flow uninterrupted.
The sefer Harei Besamim by Harav Shachne Tzvi, who was the maggid of Nemirov in the lifetime of talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, gives a slightly different explanation.
He says that as long as one fortifies oneself with emunah and bitachon and refrains from asking questions, then the bounty of sustenance from Shamayim is unlimited. If one starts to ask questions — indicating a lack of proper bitachon — then the Ribbono shel Olam must then command anew that the sustenance should flow again. But because of the lack of bitachon, the blessing is only for three years.
May we merit to fortify ourselves with the proper bitachon and be zocheh to uninterrupted bounties of sustenance.