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