“I heard a lecture about bitachon which really excited me. However, after not seeing such an improvement after a few weeks of trying to work on my bitachon I gave up. I think it’s just not for me!”
The above statement we sometimes hear is so sad. How can a Jew think bitachon is not for him when the Vilna Gaon writes: The main reason for the giving of the Torah to Klal Yisroel is so that they will place their trust in Hashem! How can a person work hard each day to perform all the Mitzvos of the Torah, and believe that its main purpose does not apply to him?!
It would serve us well to learn the words of Rabbeinu Bachaya (Shemos 3:3) regarding this topic:
“And Hashem saw that he turned to see, and G-d called out to him.” Since this was the beginning of Moshe’s prophecy, Hashem sought to accustom him little by little, to raise him from one level to the next, until his intellect would strengthen. This is analogous to one who sits in a pitch-dark house for an extended period of time. If he were to suddenly exit and look at the sun he will damage his sight. Therefore, he must accustom himself, little by little, to small amounts of light until he becomes used to it. Just as this is true regarding the light of the sun, so to and for the very same reason, is it regarding the light of the intellect. For the ways of the intellect are just as the ways of the senses, what will occur to the intellect will occur to the senses, and the ways of the soul are connected to the ways of the body. Similarly, we find with Israel, Hashem accustomed them little by little. At first, they were commanded at Mara some Mitzvos, i.e. Shabbos and monetary laws, afterwards they were given the Ten Commandments at Sinai, after which they were commanded the rest of the Torah in the Plains of Moav. So too, we find regarding attaining the knowledge of G-d that one must accustom his intellect little by little, this way his comprehension will grow and expand continuously, similar to the light of the morning which begins with a small amount after which it continuously grow stronger. This is the meaning of the words of the Navi: And let us know, let us strive to know Hashem: like the dawn whose going forth is sure. (Hoshea 6:3) The pasuk teaches us that there are people that don’t know how to run after and strive, and they want to attain knowledge at once, this is why it says, And let us know, let us strive to know, meaning, we should first know how to strive and run after. The pasuk then explains the value of the striving, like the dawn whose going forth is sure, meaning, not at once, rather, little by little.
The very first step to attaining true bitachon, and for that matter, all spiritual attributes, is to understand that one must be guided by Chachamim as to how to go about his quest and that, “slow and steady wins the race!” When we do this we can be comforted with the assurance of this very same pasuk, as interpreted by the Metzudas: Like the dawn whose going forth is sure, meaning, like the morning, when one sees the beginning of its light he is sure that the sun will come out over the Earth and will be seen, so to one who runs after the knowledge of Hashem will surely find it!
Other parts to this series: Inspiration in Bitachon