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11 Tishrei 5767 - October 3, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Opinion & Comment
The Foundations of the Torah Home: How to Establish a Stable and Successful Jewish Marriage

Based on the sichos of Morenu veRabbeinu HaGaon HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, shlita

Part Three: Bitochon

Luxuries may abound, but menuchas hanefesh is in short supply. Chazal say, "Menuchoh, this is Torah" (Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Vayechi 11). Only Torah can bring menuchoh to our lives, to our marriages and to the world. This happens because Torah enables us to trust in Hashem.

The Vilna Gaon taught, based on the posuk in Mishlei (22:19): "The fundamental reason for giving the Torah to Klal Yisroel was so that they would place their trust in Hashem . . .. The foundation of everything is the perfection of bitochon, and it encompasses all the mitzvos."

The goal of Torah and all its mitzvos is to establish, strengthen and preserve our connection with Hashem. In proportion to the strength of our bitochon, so will be the closeness of our relationship to Hashem.

The sefer Chovos HaLevovos, in the introduction to Shaar Habitochon, writes that people will reap many benefits if they honestly and fully endeavor to place their trust in Hashem: They will have peace of mind and feel calm. Consequently, they will be healthier. They will worry less and have fewer upsets. They will devote less time to business and worldly concerns. This will give them more time to serve Hashem. Their thoughts will be free to study Torah. They will be happy and content in all situations, for they realize that everything they have comes from Hashem, in Whom they have placed their trust. They know that whatever Hashem bestows upon them, is absolutely and ultimately good for them.

We all want the many benefits of bitochon, to be healthy, happy and content. However, it is a mistake to believe that these are independent goals of the highest priority. These many benefits of bitochon, as wonderful and important as they may be, are merely by- products of bitochon. They are not goals in-and-of themselves.

According to the Vilna Gaon, bitochon is the goal itself, and true bitochon is possible only through Torah. The highest, most desirable and vital goal for us all is the quality of our relationship with our Creator — and the strength of this relationship depends upon the strength of our trust in Him.

Torah is our way to achieve bitochon. Torah is our connection to Hashem Yisborach. Torah forms and maintains our relationship with Him.

Limud haTorah brings us closer to Hashem, because through learning we come to know and understand the significance of ruchniyus. If we have a strong relationship with Hashem, we will certainly have menuchas hanefesh. Thus, Torah, as Chazal teach us, is menuchoh.

How well we cope with life depends on how well we have developed our bitochon. Many aspects of life present us with challenges, difficulties, dilemmas and even traumas. Earning a living, finding and keeping a job, sholom bayis, raising children and marrying them off are all real, practical concerns.

Potentially, each of these concerns can interfere with our menuchas hanefesh. Worries over these issues can creep into our thoughts and disturb our menuchas hanefesh. Bitochon, however, dispels these fears.

Hashem is our Compassionate All-Powerful Provider. He is more capable of providing for us than we can provide for ourselves. He is more concerned for us than we are for ourselves. Hashem takes care of us, perfectly and constantly.

We have to be clear in our knowledge and steadfast in our faith that bitochon is the true solution to all our problems.


The Maharal writes (Chidushei Aggodos, Sota 48b) that according to the bitochon we have in Hashem during our lifetime, so will be the reward awaiting us in the world to come. Moreover, in this world as well, Hashem bestows goodness according to the faith of His believers. In proportion to the extent of our faith in Hashem, so will be the actualization of His blessings and kindness to us.

Our faith in Hashem shapes our lives so much, that if we believe perfectly in His power and readiness to help us, we can experience the unending magnificence and kindness of Hashem both in this world and in the next world. Bitochon is much more than a virtue, bitochon is life.

Hashgochoh protis, Hashem's direct intervention in our lives, depends on the amount of bitochon we have. Life is a test of our bitochon. Everyone must face the challenges of life. Hashem tests our reactions. Will we respond with bitochon? If we respond with bitochon, we will succeed. Nothing in life happens by accident. Every event of life has a spiritual origin.

Married couples, especially in the early years, face many challenges. Sholom bayis is one of the greatest challenges. Before marriage, each partner faced life's difficulties on his or her own. After marriage, they are together. Their previous responses are not always suitable for their new situation.

Before marriage, many of us respond to life with negative emotions such as frustration, anger, or depression. This is an indication that we have not learned about the purpose of life. If we were not sensitive to hashgochoh protis, if we did not train ourselves to respond with bitochon then, once we begin to build a Torah home, we have lots of work to do.

Bitochon must govern our attitude to our marriage, and every other aspect of our lives. Hashem will help us if we respond with bitochon. In spite of the normal adjustments and stresses, a young couple can, if guided by bitochon, grow together and build a stable Torah home, a home that will foster menuchas hanefesh .

Many of the difficulties that newlyweds experience, if analyzed rationally, are in fact trivial. Even when quarrels and outbursts occur, the true test is: how long will they last and what will be the result? Will we be stubborn, hold a grudge or lash back? Or will we remain, calm, understanding and forgiving? Bitochon helps us make the right decision.

If we trust in Hashem, we have no reason to behave irrationally. We can maintain our composure and pray to Hashem to help us; if so, we will see, through hashgochoh protis and siyata deShmaya, the solution to our problems.

The Ramchal, in the opening line of his sefer Mesillas Yeshorim, teaches us about the essence of serving Hashem. The Ramchal explains that the accomplishment of perfect and true devotion to Hashem pivots upon a person's ability to realize, in the truest and clearest way possible, the obligations incumbent on him "in his world."

The Ramchal did not use the general phrase, "in the world." Instead, the Ramchal chose the very specific and personal expression: "in his world." This expression teaches us a very deep and important lesson: This world is a custom- designed, uniquely personal world. Each of us has a reason for being alive. Therefore, the most accurate phrase to use is "his world." Therefore, each of us should strive to realize our unique and specific obligations in life.

Hashem has specific expectations for every one of us, at every moment of our lives. Since each of us has a special, irreplaceable purpose for being alive, the goal and the reward for its achievement are unique. If we fulfill our goal and accomplish the purpose of our lives, we have done our job.

Success in life depends on understanding and fulfilling the task we need to accomplish in this world. We cannot exchange our task with the task of someone else. No two missions are the same. The responsibilities that are important for one person are not transferable to someone else. Each person has specific abilities and skills; unique gifts that Hashem has bestowed on His creations which enable them to fulfill their specific mission in life.

However, in our day, most of us do not truly understand or fully appreciate the roles of husband and wife in building a Torah home. This confusion makes the need to perfect our bitochon more relevant than ever before. With bitochon, we can establish our homes on a solid foundation. We can become sensitive to what Hashem expects of us.

Specific Jobs — Mutual Success

The gemora Brochos (64a) teaches us, "Talmidei chachomim increase peace in the world. For, as the posuk states, `and all your children will be versed in Hashem's Torah and great will be the peace of your children'" (Yeshaya 54:13). Chazal teach us, "Do not read `your children' but `your builders.' "

Talmidei chachomim are "builders" because they apply the wisdom of the Torah to guide people in building their lives. They build themselves and then, by passing on Torah from one generation to the next, they build Klal Yisroel.

The Torah they learn, and eventually teach, gives permanence and continuity to Klal Yisroel. The true talmid chochom is a ben Torah. Just as a ben, a son, is a product of the father, likewise the ben Torah is a product of the Torah he learns. Thus, the true talmid chochom is a product of Torah. The Torah made him what he is.

Hashem Yisborach entrusts the responsibility of building the next generation of Klal Yisroel to the hands of talmidei chachomim. Hashem will guide them to fulfill their task.

The Vilna Gaon, based on the well-known posuk in Mishlei (14:1), "The wise among women builds her house" comments: "The wisest of the women see to it that their house is built, which means that it has permanence. . . ."

The Vilna Gaon goes on to explain that this posuk is referring to women who are wise enough to use their wisdom to ensure that their home is a house built in a way that it will endure in Olom Hazeh and in Olom Habo.

Klal Yisroel's husbands are builders. Klal Yisroel's wives are also builders. Parents are jointly responsible for the chinuch of their children. If the husband and wife care for each other, then the children will understand the meaning of, "you shall your love neighbor as yourself." This is, as Rabbi Akiva teaches us, a basic principle, a "klal godol beTorah."

If we realize and apply this knowledge, kedushoh will fill our homes; the kind of kedushoh that comes from allowing the Tzelem Elokim within us to flourish. If we are careful and sensitive, our conduct at home will produce another generation of Torah Jews who are loyal to Hashem Yisborach. If, however, the husband and wife quarrel, then the children will learn to imitate this behavior.

In this way, the husband and wife are builders, builders that give life and permanence to Klal Yisroel. They are builders that build in olom hazeh for Olom Habo.

Building takes time and expertise. Our homes can be homes of beauty and splendor. We all need to know and appreciate the importance of our individual tasks. The Shechinah will be with us if we are building for Klal Yisroel. Moreover, if we are building for Klal Yisroel, we are building Olom Habo.

However, if we forget our mission — securing the future of Klal Yisroel — then we can become confused. The many tempting alternatives the world has to offer will distract us. We will lose sight of the true goal in life. Our menuchas hanefesh will suffer. If we lack Shechinah, we sacrifice sholom bayis.

On the other hand, Hashem will help every one of us if we want to fulfill our true task in life to its perfect completion.

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