42. Temperment and Bitachon

Imagine that you park your car at a fire hydrant. You don’t like to do this, but you’re late and you need to just run into the store for a moment. So you park your car right in front of a fire hydrant and you run into the store. How anxious are you when you walk in? How nervous are you? Now, some people are calm. They’ll take the chance, they’ll take the gamble; they’re very sure that nothing bad will happen. Some people are nervous, some people are very, very fearful.

Sometimes people make a mistake. They assume that if they’re calm it must be because they have a lot of bitachon (trust) or if they’re nervous it’s because they have no bitachon. The reality is that situation has nothing to do with bitachon. Some people by nature and temperament are risk-takers, more calm, more easy-going. Some people by nature, by temperament are more on edge, are more nervous. One has no right to have bitachon to trust that Hashem will arrange it that I won’t get a parking ticket, because what I’ve done is illegal; I’ve acted in an improper way.

The reason why one person may be calm and the other will be filled with dread has nothing to do with bitachon. It has to do with temperament and personality type. And that’s an important indication of the nature of a person, not their level of bitachon. When you begin to understand your nature, when you begin to understand what type of person you are, you then can work on bitachon and get something of a realistic perspective.

Many times people fool themselves. They think I’m a big baal bitachon (person who trusts) because I’m never filled with fear. I’m always calm and easy-going. It might be true, but it also might have nothing to do with it. If by nature you’re easy-going, if by nature your temperament is to be calm, it may have nothing to do with bitachon. Bitachon isn’t trusting that things will continue, bitachon is recognizing that Hashem is right there, Hashem is running the world. But of course one only has a right to have bitachon when he’s acting in the way that Hashem wants him to act in the world.