Let us continue with an analysis of seven aspects of bitachon that can be culled from the story told in Parshas Chayei Sara of Eliezer’s search for a wife for Yitzchak. The pesukim there literally shout with the confidence —bitachon-inspired confidence— that Avraham Avinu had that Eliezer’s search would prove to be successful. Eliezer himself exhibited great bitachon, and therefore it would seem to be a great resource —if we study the pesukim and the story line itself very carefully— to teach us different angles of this vital middah.
We have already discussed three of seven aspects. The first is that we may set our own parameters in what we are doing —assuming they are logical and have a Torah-based rationale and are not arbitrary, or worse, driven by some selfish, personal agenda. The second was that bitachon should be embedded in our lives; it should be second nature, as natural as breathing (seeing that it is only a reflection of reality —Hashem controls everything and is a meitiv). It is thus really only at times of crises that one should expressly reiterate this in order to be mechazek oneself. The third was that as much as we rely on and trust in Hashem, we cannot know what He has in mind for us, and thus we must always leave a “corner of our mind” open to the reality that “ki lo machshevosai machshevoseichem, velo darcheichem derachai…” Meaning, we are not privy to Hashem’s plans, and must be ready to accept (happily!) whatever he has in store for us, even if this most decidedly is NOT what we had relied on Him to make happen.
4. One should not do without davening because one’s bitachon is very strong.
Do not let your bitachon, no matter how well developed it is, lull you into a sense that tefillah is somehow unnecessary. On the contrary, turn your tefillah into an expression of your bitachon! Logically, one might think a ba’al bitachon of the highest caliber should feel that he or she needs not daven! How is that? Well, if you think about it, the well-developed ba’al bitachon has internalized the reality that Hashem is the most caring, loving, attentive Power in one’s life (see the second and third chapters of Chovos Halevavos’ Sha’ar Habitachon), that Hashem is the cause of all that occurs, and that Hashem will always do what is best for us, being the most cognizant of what that ‘good’ is. The consummate ba’al bitachon is —presumably— very unstressed, totally calm, as they know that it is really out of their hands and in the hands of the most benevolent Hashem. So why daven?
However, Eliezer did daven —and quite powerfully, too. Why? Had not Avraham already stated that Hashem would send His angel before Eliezer to make his search successful? The reason is that davening is a method through which Hashem ‘functions.’ He created a world in which things happen in response to our turning to Him and acknowledging that He is indeed the source of all, and then pleading and beseeching Him, as Eliezer did, to please, please, please make it (pick one—the job, health, parnassah, the shidduch, the relationship) happen. We see this at the beginning of the Torah in Parshas Bereishis, where the passuk states that Hashem did not send rain until there was a man (Adam) to daven for rain, to recognize from where, from Whom, rain comes, and to then thank Him for that benevolence. Think of tefillah as the ultimate hishtadlus —for indeed it is! For this is the method through which Hashem has decided to channel those things that he provides humanity with. Part of that, perhaps the other side of the same coin, is that tefillah is our expression of bitachon. We may think bitachon, feel bitachon, even emote bitachon —but there is nothing like standing in front of Hashem and saying, “Hashem, I acknowledge and admit that all is from You; that it is your doing and your doing only that will find a wife for Yitzchak. I rely on You and I am serene and confident in this reliance. Please let my acknowledgement indeed be the channel and the medium through which it happens.” And that is the tefillah of the ba’al bitachon!
5. One must make sure that one will gain a new and more intense awareness of Hashem and His kindliness when things work out.
Eliezer states in his tefillah (Bereishis 24:12), “And through my success, I will know and recognize that You have done great chessed with my master Avraham.” Eliezer is saying that he, Eliezer, will reach a new dimension and depth of awareness and understanding that Hashem has done great chessed with Avraham. The focus of our desires and hopes should ideally always be greater awareness of Hashem, of His wisdom or of His kindness. Thus, part of Eliezer’s prayer was that beyond fulfillment of his request, of Avraham’s wishes to find a suitable wife for Yitzchak, there would be a new understanding, a deeper appreciation, of Hashem’s kindness with Avraham. From this we can learn that when we daven, when we want our needs fulfilled, if we are not capable of solely focusing on the kiddush Hashem angle, at least let us try to make a heightening of that awareness part of what we are trying to accomplish. (Try not to think about the fact that since that is the very purpose of Creation, this itself makes the tefillah incredibly powerful)
To be continued…