38. The Test of Bitachon

Imagine I have a very successful retail store. I sell electronics. And I’m doing phenomenally well. I’m making money hand over fist. And people come in and say to me wow, look at your business acumen, look at your intelligence, look what you’ve done. No, no, no, it’s not me, it’s Hashem. It must be your MBA. No, no, no, no, it’s mei’eis Hashem (from Hashem), it’s all Hashem, baruch Hashem (thank G-d), everything is from Hashem.

And people are very impressed, look at that, a successful person but you’ve got a real baal bitachon (person who trusts). And then Circuit City opens up across the street and ahhh, terror, abject fear, oh my goodness, I’m dead. What happened to my bitachon? What happened to my im yirtzeh Hashem (if Hashem desires), what happened to my trust in Hashem?

And the answer is when you’re making money, when things are going well, it’s very easy to mouth the words baruch Hashem, im yirtzeh Hashem, but that doesn’t mean you trust in Hashem. That means you’re paying lip service. Trusting in Hashem is tested when things are bleak and things are black. The real test of bitachon is when you’re in trouble. Learning to trust in Hashem means learning to see Hashem running my world, learning to see Hashem having a plan, learning that even if I don’t know the answers that doesn’t mean that Hashem doesn’t.

And the ability to trust in Hashem is something that takes an awful lot of time. Saying the words im yirtzeh Hashem and baruch Hashem is important, but they’re really just vehicles to come to the real cognition that Hashem runs the world, Hashem has a decree for me, and Hashem knows better than I what’s for my best.