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Today, Friday, December 8, 2006, the 17th of Kislev, 5767, is the 87th yahrzeit of Harav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz zt"l, founder of the Novahrdok Musser Movement, and known as the Alter of Novahrdok. Last night, in Har Nof, a group of his followers gathered together to discuss this great man and his teachings. All of the beliefs of Novahrdok were practiced intensely; even going to extremes. The foundation of this movement is absolute faith and confidence in Hashem; in any and all situations.
The Hebrew word bitachon, is usually translated as trust. However, its root is the word betach which means to be sure. The Novahrdokers were absolutely sure and totally confident that one could rely on Hashem in all matters. They taught that, in fact, this practice of relying on Hashem is only foolproof when one does it without the slightest doubt.
In his marvelous work, Madreigas Ha'Adam, the Alter tells a story about "someone" (it is known that he was referring to himself) who was studying Torah in a shed, alone in the woods. He did not take along with him any candles because he was sure that he would be provided with al of his needs from Heaven. Sure enough, when it got dark, someone whom he did not know suddenly arrived and gave him a candle with which he was able to continue learning at night.
His comment on this story is, "and this is simple." The first time I read it, I was more surprised at the comment than at the story itself. I do believe in miracles of course, but is it so "simple" and positive that they occur for all who believe in them? After a while, I realized that that was exactly what Novahrdok was all about. They taught that only if one is so convinced of the truth of bitachon that it is simple to him, is it effective. If one would be surprised to see that it really does work, then it wouldn't work for him. Only if his reaction is, "of course" and "it's simple" can he be labeled with the honorary title of a real "ba'al bitachon" - one who is confident in Hashem.
The story continues that the Alter saved the leftovers of the candle for many years, to show the results of pure bitachon. However, there was a fire in his house and the candle was consumed. He then declared that he had erred in saving the candle because "one doesn't need proofs for bitachon!" T