Ok, submitted for your critique, the beginning of what I originally called “The Book,” but what I am tentatively calling “Oh God, What’s the Point?” until I get a better title. It’s a general hashkafah book about the purpose of the world. When we understand basically what we’re doing here, it makes it easier for us to trust Hashem.
A Quick Word On “Faith”
Like a great many, Hebrew words, the terms emunah and bitachon defy translation. Trying to fit these concepts into the tight bonds of the word faith is comparable to calling the Grand Canyon a “pretty ditch.”
In his book about emunah and bitachon Nachmanadies says that emunah is analogous to a tree, and bitachon is the fruit of that tree. You can have a tree that never produced fruit, but if you have fruit, there must have been a tree involved. Emunah, he says, is belief in God and his power to act, but bitachon is the trust that He will.
It can be said that emunah involves a clear recognition of all of the principles of the Jewish faith, and bitachon is not only the active behavior which reflects these truths, but trust in God. Bitachon is trust that God is not only interested in our behavior, but He loves us and has our highest good in mind. Trust is the basis for relationships with our fellow man, and a relationship with God is no different.
The work of building bitachon is a life time job. The Vilna Gaon says that bitachon is necessary for all positive character traits, and without bitachon a person’s Torah will not last. This trust is the basis for a healthy, loving relationship between us and God, as well as with ourselves. The Gaon adds that bitachon is also necessary for experiencing true love for one another. How can I be jealous of my friend when we both have the very best we can have for us?
The positive benefits of trusting God have been discussed by the Sages throughout the generations. A person is relieved of his daily worries.Bitachon even has the inherent ability to bring a person the object of his desires. Obviously emunah and bitachon deserve a work of their own, and many have been written. Discussing emunah and bitachon – their definition, benefits and practice – is not the point of this booklet.
Next excerpt: What is the Purpose of this Book?… Stay tuned! (Don’t worry, I’ll put it up tomorrow.)