Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chanukah - What is Bitachon?

HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon Shlita, recently provided fundamental introductory words to the Yom Tov of Chanukah. Chanukah teaches us yesodos, basics, in bitachon. With the mighty falling into the hands of the weak, the many losing battle after battle to the few, a little bit of oil lasting eight days, we learn that natural law, statistics and probability are not relevant to the Ba’al bitachon. What happened in the past is by no means determinative that the same will happen again in the future. On the other hand, bitachon in Hashem does not mean that we are confident that whatever we want to happen will happen. What is bitachon?

The Rabbeinu Yonah teaches that bitachon is hope. When statistics say that something is impossible, K’lal Yisroel still has hope, for Hashem can do anything. What we simply do not know is if Hashem, as the HaTov and HaMaitiv wants it to happen. We don’t know and often cannot see the Tov in events that occur. This is where the next step in bitachon comes in. We believe that notwithstanding our subjective hope, what really happens is all good. One may have davened for what he thought was good for him, but when the opposite occurred, Hashem indicated that in reality what he davened for was not the best for him. When we properly exercise our bitachon, we do not know what the outcome will be, for it depends on the Cheshbonos of the Ribbono Shel Olam.

Chanukah teaches that “Ain Od Melvado-there is nothing but His Will” is really the metziyus, the reality. In everyday life, this is hidden by nature, but in special moments (such as Chanukah and Purim, and perhaps other special times in a person’s life), Hashem makes it visible. It was a clear statistical impossibility for thirteen people (no matter how able bodied they were) to defeat tens of thousands. Hashem willed otherwise-and the rest is history that we celebrate -which reignites the flame of bitachon within us every year.

HaRav Salomon continues with a beautiful teaching of HaRav Chaim Volozhiner, Z’tl (in Sefer Ruach Chaim to Avos 2:4). There, HaRav Chaim brings the famous Kepital in Tehillim (23)--”Hashem Roii Lo Echsar-Hashem is my shepherd-I will lack nothing.” Dovid HaMelech compares himself to a sheep whose whole existence depends on the shepherd. He leads them in a way that they won’t be injured-all is for their benefit even if they have no understanding. Dovid HaMelech teaches us all to follow the shepherd and feel secure, for even if one may be tired and harassed, he can have full confidence that the shepherd is leading him in the path that is really best. Sometimes we see the good, but often it is not visible. Knowing this, the Shivtecha-the stick that hits me, and Mishantecha-the stick that I lean upon, are really the same stick. Thus, Heimah Yenachamuni-they together assuage me because I have bitachon that everything is LeTova-for the good-for it all comes from the One who is All Good.

At the end of this week's Parsha, Parshas Vayeisheiv, Yosef HaTzaddik places some eminently justifiable reliance on the Sar Hamashkim-after all that he did for him. However, the end was, as the last word of the Parsha testifies-Vayishkacheihu-and he forgot him. [On the other hand, Dovid Hamelech exclaims-V’shavti Bevais Hashem L’Orech Yomim-I look to nothing else and to no one else, other than dwelling together with Hashem for length of days.] With this, Yosef learned that our hallmark for survival in galus among all those around us who in fact do us a favor if they only ‘forget us’-is looking to Hashem for anything and everything. The lesson learned is quickly brought into practice in next week’s Parsha as Yosef starkly and clearly advises Paroah, Biladai-it is not me, it is Hashem who makes all determinations and all decisions, and it is to Him that we must turn-in all dreams, and in all realities!

(Taken from a recent Hakhel post.)

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