Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

Weekly Chizuk

Parshas Bemidbar

Basics of Emuna and Bitachon

"I believe with perfect faith that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things" (The first of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith).


Rav Chatzkal Levenstein, zt"l, the mashgiach of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, (Ohr Yechezkel - Emunah) writes: The first step towards emunah is to internalize this first principle of the Rambam. Hashem, alone, is the Creator. He made EVERYTHING.

Everything you see around you, He made it. He created it, out of nothing. And He is still involved. Nothing that happens on this planet is coincidental. Whatever success or set back you suffer is decreed in Shomayim. Whether you land the contract, or lose your customers; whether you get the job you so wanted, or your investments plunge into the basement; nothing just happens. It is all orchestrated by a very specific direct involvement of Divine supervision. That's emunah.

Is that Bitachon? No. I heard the story of a yeshiva bochur who regularly had to be calmed down by his rabbeim. He would inevitably come with a very complicated and complex scenario that Hashem was out to get him. He would describe down to the minutest details the hashgacha pratis that always worked against him.

This bochur had a very sharp and vivid sense of emunah. He believed with every fiber of his body in Hashem's direct supervision of the Universe. However, he came to the wrong conclusion: Hashem is out to get me!


Bitachon is a very different idea. Bitachon is trust: I trust Hashem. Pure bitachon is to take one's heavy burden and completely trust that Hashem loves me and will take care of me.

Internalize Bitachon

"Anyone who says the possuk in Ashrei, 'Open Your hands and satiate every living creature its will,' three times a day, is a Ben Olam Haba." We have all learned this statement of Chazal and proceed to be very meticulous about reciting Ashrei. But how many of us stop to think, what is so special about saying this possuk that it gives you a direct ticket to Olam Haba? Olam Haba is too precious to be bought for such a mere lip-service. It can't mean just rattling off the words 3 times a day: zug ashrei. That doesn't change anything.

Chazal mean to tell us that one should contemplate these words and internalize this fundamental principle of belief in Hashem's direct and personal supervision. Hashems''s deepest desire is to satisfy every one of His Creatures. He provides sustenance from the largest elephant down to the smallest bug. Once you internalize that, you will gain automatic entry into Olam Haba, because Olam Haba is specifically for those who truly believe in Hashem's Hashgacha Pratis.

Throw Your Burden on Hashem

The Gemara (Megillah 18a) records that the Sages didn't know the meaning the verse: "Throw your yehav on Hashem" (Tehillim 55:23). But an incident that involved Rabba bar bar Chanah enlightened them. He was once traveling with an Arab in the desert, and the Arab said to him, "Take your yehav and put it on my camel." The Rabbis then understood that this meant "burden" and that the verse in Tehillim was saying, "Throw your burden on Hashem."

On the surface, this Gemara appears to be nothing more than an indication of how to translate a possuk. However, it is really a profound lesson in bitachon.

The Rabbis didn't know the extent of bitachon: How much should a person exert himself to achieve a desired goal, and how much should he rely on the Almighty? The verse in Tehillim seemed to provide the answer, but they weren't sure of its interpretation. The Arab helped them answer the question. When a person throws his burden on a camel, he no longer feels its weight, because he is no longer carrying it.

Thus it is with bitachon in Hashem. As long as a person feels the least amount of anxiety concerning his livelihood, it is a sign that he has not thrown his bundle of worries on the Almighty. Bitachon means that a person feels no weight of worry at all regarding his needs, because he realizes that Hashem will take care of everything.

Climb Aboard!

A simple villager was trekking several miles toward his home, staggering under the weight of an enormous pack. Suddenly, a horse and wagon pulled up alongside him. "Climb aboard!" the driver called out to him. The villager huffed and puffed his way up onto the wagon, the driver shook his reins, and the horse obediently set off.

A few miles down the road, the grateful passenger said to the driver, "I can't thank you enough. This is really very kind of you."

"Not at all," said the wagoner, as he turned to smile at the man seated in the back of the wagon. It was then that he noticed that the villager was sitting crumpled forward with his heavy pack still on his back. The wagoner exclaimed, "Why haven't you taken your pack off?!"

The villager replied in all innocence, "Well, you've been so kind carrying me, I didn't want to burden you with the extra weight of my pack as well."

This is bitachon: A person must feel with every fibre of his soul that Hashem is with him at all times carrying him and his burden. He is with you and feels your pain and joy. Follow the Chovos Halevovos' rule: The more you trust Hashem, the more He guides you and takes care of you. Climb aboard and lay your burden down on His wagon.

Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
Tel: 732-858-1257
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
If you would like to correspond with Rabbi Parkoff, or change your subscription, please contact:

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel