בְּטַ֣ח בַּֽ֭יהוָה וַעֲשֵׂה־ט֑וֹב שְׁכָן־אֶ֝֗רֶץ וּרְעֵ֥ה אֱמוּנָֽה. וְהִתְעַנַּ֥ג עַל־יְהוָ֑ה וְיִֽתֶּן־לְ֝ךָ֗ מִשְׁאֲלֹ֥ת לִבֶּֽךָ
(Tehillim 37: 3-4)
Mid nineteenth century in Vilna. Two giants of their generation were engrossed in heated debate.
“I concede to you, R’ Yisroel, that one who truly has bitachon is guaranteed that Hashem will not let him down. However, I believe that this is only in regards to one’s necessities, regarding luxuries there is no such guarantee.”
His burning love for Hashem glowing from his eyes and evident in the excitement in his voice, R’ Yisroel Salanter responds to the Rasha”sh: “No R’ Shmuel, you are mistaken. The overwhelming power of the trust we place in our Father in Heaven, just as His love for us, has no limitations. Be it necessity or luxury, one who places his trust in Him will not be let down. In fact, I’ll prove it! I will right now have bitachon that I’ll receive a gold watch. You will see, Hashem won’t let me down.
The following day, as the Rasha”sh is engrossed in his studies he hears a knock at the door. Upon opening the door he sees a tall man in seaman’s clothes with a look of determination on his face.
“I assume you are the Rabbi,” he says.
“That is correct, how can I be of assistance to you?”
“To make a long story short,” responds the seaman, “I am the captain of a ship. Just yesterday we were hit by a terrible storm. As the waters raged flooding our ship we the grim reality of our fate began to hit us. Desperate, I pleaded with G-d to have mercy upon us promising that if we survived I would give my gold watch as a present to the rabbi of the next city we would arrive in.” Saying this, the man handed a beautiful gold watch to the Rasha”sh.
“No no no,” replied the Rasha”sh, “You have the wrong rabbi. This watch belongs to another rabbi whose address I will give you now. His name is Rabbi Yisroel Salanter!”
Perhaps the extent of the power bitachon is as manifested in the above story is also evident from our opening Pesukim. The simple translation of these pesukim is:
“Trust Hashem and do good, dwell in the land and attain sustenance through your belief [in Hashem]. And take pleasure from ( על- literally: upon) Hashem and He will grant your hearts desires.”
Rashi however, explains the words, “take pleasure upon Hashem,” as meaning: “Take pleasure in indulgences relying on the supporting staff of the Holy One blessed be His name.” The Metzudas Dovid adds: “And He will grant all that your heart will ask,” means, He will grant you all that you lack, including indulgences.
Other parts to this series: Inspiration in Bitachon