13 Nissan 5763
Struggling With Bitachon
From the desk of Rabbi Label Sharfman
For those of us who were spared the experience of living through the Holocaust of World War II, the events currently taking place in Eretz Yisrael and around the world are perhaps the most difficult, heart wrenching and emunah shaking experiences that we have ever lived through – certainly on a national level.
Although, in the past, we have often contemplated and discussed the tragedies of Jewish History and how much our people have suffered since the enslavement in Mitzrayim, and especially since the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, perhaps this is the first time in our lives that we actually can relate to what it is really like to be a victim and to feel totally helpless.
Now, when we think of Tzaddikim of the past who, as the result of pogroms and anti-semitism, lost everything that they had cherished – their wives, husbands and children; their homes and all of their possessions, but continued to have complete faith in the Ribbono Shel Olam, we appreciate and revere their accomplishments through a totally new level of understanding.
The torch has unfortunately been passed on to our generation! We thought that Jewish History had passed us by. We were the lucky generation, sandwiched between the miseries of the past and the promises of the future. We had it all – freedom and the financial independence to enjoy it.
Now it is our turn to display emunah and bitachon. We have become another link in the sad chain of Jewish suffering. Nevertheless, we must be strong and move on. We must graduate from theory to practice and implementation. But, how? How do we cope? How do we live in a world where there is no righteousness, only self interests; where we witness lives and families of innocent, loving and good people torn asunder?
As we have always learned, having true emunah and bitachon is not easy. But it is possible and the prize that awaits us is the glorious title “Baal Bitachon.” It is ours for the taking. WE CAN BE VICTORIOUS!
Firstly, we must remember the definition of bitachon. It does not mean that everything will work out fine. When a patient is sick and has bitachon, it means that he believes that whatever happens is the will of HaShem. Whether it ends up good or, what we consider not so good, this is what HaShem wants. A Baal Bitachon is one who believes with all his heart that all is in the hands of heaven (HaKol B’Yedai Shamayim).
If we go on a trip on Chol HaMoed and it rains, we didn’t have bad luck. It was the Ratzon HaShem (the will of HaShem). As the Gemora in Meseches Chullin (7B) teaches, “a person does not stub his toe down here without it being decreed from above”.
We may not like what is happening nor are we able to understand why. Nevertheless, this is the Ratzon HaShem – every single detail of what transpires.
We believe that all that HaShem does is, in fact, for the good; despite what our emotions may be feeling. David HaMelech, who lived a very difficult life, never complained. He wrote a psalm that declares 26 times Ki L’Olam Chasdo – His kindness endures forever! This was not a song. It was a Tefilla!
Still and all, our duty is to protect ourselves as best as possible and to do whatever is in our power to alter the current heavenly decree. Despite our saying that all of HaShem’s actions are good, there are times that He must use a stick to prod us towards the proper path. We can avoid this by rectifying our behavior and actions. This can be accomplished by our davening with better Kavanah, the improving of our Shmiras HaMitzvos and certainly in the strengthening of our Mitzvos Bein Adam L’Chaveiro.
Remember the episode of Yosef and his brothers. Yosef, as the Viceroy of Egypt, was tormenting and mentally torturing the Shevatim. They could not understand anything that was happening. It didn¹t make any sense. Why was the Egyptian Viceroy treating them so cruelly? Why was Binyamin being singled out for slavery? Why were they suffering so much? They couldn’t figure anything out. And then The Viceroy said, “Ani Yosef” and everything became perfectly clear. All of the questions and frustrations simply vanished. They understood everything.
Chazal teach us that the day will come when HaShem will say, “Ani HaShem” and we too will experience the clarity that is totally unimaginable at the present time. All will be clear. The tears and pain and questions will be wiped away.
May this Pesach, the Chag HaGeulah bring the declaration of Ani HaShem and may Klal Yisrael know no more suffering.
Chag Kasher V’Sameach!
Rabbi Label Sharfman Dean
B’not Torah Institute (Sharfman’s)