Q: Why is it so important to learn about bitachon (trust in Hashem)?
A: Because all the phenomena of the world contradict it. The mere fact that you have to put food into your mouth and chew is a contradiction to bitachon.
magine a person with so much faith that when food is placed on the table he prays that Hashem will nourish him—without eating it! Of course, everybody understands that such a person is a fool. He has to put the food in his mouth.
Bitachon means to know that only Hashem does everything and our efforts are entirely meaningless
Not only that, but he has to do a lot of work. He has to go through the work of cutting off pieces with his front teeth. Then his tongue has to propel the pieces to the back teeth, the molars, which grind the food and secrete saliva to make it softer and help digest it in the mouth, and also to lubricate the swallowing. There’s a lot of work involved in eating.
Imagine a pious bachelor who studies Torah all day and prays to Hashem that he should have offspring—without getting married, without a wife! We would understand that this is not going to happen despite all his prayers. He might be the greatest tzaddik in the world, but it’s not going to happen. Therefore, there are limits to bitachon. There are certain areas in which we are expected to feel full responsibility; there are certain things that we must do where we can’t lean back and rely on bitachon.
But this leads to the great problem of bitachon. The problem is that our lives are a continual contradiction to bitachon. Bitachon means to know that only Hashem does everything and our efforts are entirely meaningless. Yet, at the same time we are continually busy all our lives contradicting this principle. A person asks Hashem for a livelihood. How much effort does he put into asking? Let’s say he is a very pious man who wakes up early to spend an extra hour a day asking exclusively for his livelihood. Imagine such a tzaddik.
But look how much he does to contradict that prayer. If he works from 9-5, for eight hours he is demonstrating the opposite of what he is praying. On the other hand, if he would not go to work, he would be demonstrating that his prayers were nothing. That is the heart of the problem of bitachon. We are busy all our lives contradicting the principle of bitachon. We contradict it with all our strength, all day long. — Bitachon and Emunah (#334)