TRUST IN HASHEM – HARAV SHLOMO AVINER

Trust in Hashem is not, as mentioned, the same as laziness, inactivity, or reliance on miracles.  It is full confidence that the Master of the Universe controls events and does not abandon His creatures to happenstance.  At the same time, a person is discerning, rational, and takes responsibility for his actions, whatever the results may be.  He knows well that the world belongs to the Master of the Universe, and he will eventually have to give a Divine accounting for all that he did.

Haftarah for Parashat Bechukotai

by HaRav Shlomo Aviner

 

Trust in Hashem

 

Ashkenazim/Sefardim: Yirmiyahu 16:19-17:14

Yemenite Jews: Yechezkel 34:1-27

 

Trust in Hashem is not a synonym for inaction and passivity.  It is what pushes a person to action without expecting immediate results.

In our Haftarah, we find a section of verses which remind us of the style of King David’s Psalms: “This is what Hashem says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength, and whose heart turns away from Hashem.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands, and he will not see goodness when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem, whose confidence is in Him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes.  Its leaves are always fresh.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Yirmiyahu 17:5-8)

At first glance, it is difficult to see the connection between these exalted verses – which call a person to trust in Hashem – and the rest of Yirmiyahu’s words here, which announce the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel as a result of our transgressions.  But the connection is in fact quite simple: the call to repent, together with the ethical ideal, can cure the Nation.  The political difficulties we encounter will not be solved by diplomatic channels, but rather by the Nation of Israel being the guardian of universal ethics.  If we fail in our task, we lose our place as a Nation among humanity, and experience the trials and tribulations of the Exile.  Instead of placing our trust in backstabbing nations and wallowing in a miserable state, the prophet calls us to trust in Hashem.  Complete trust in Hashem means acting with integrity. It means being ready to receive all results which stem from these actions, even if they turn out to our detriment, and recognizing that we are constantly surrounded by Divine Providence.

Do not think that crime pays.  It is possible that in the short term righteous and upright people are poverty-stricken and distressed while crooked people are happy and prosperous.  But in the long term, the opposite will occur.  One whose heart is distant from Hashem, who has chosen to rely on man, and is mired in all sorts of different affairs, will not merit seeing days of kindness.  But one who behaved with integrity without compromise will merit days of joy.  The reward for acting in this way does not appear immediately.  If this were the case, most people would be full of integrity, if only for the sake of their own best interests.

Our world is a world of trials (Mesilat Yesharim, chap. 1), and it is therefore incumbent upon us to overcome many difficulties. Through these, one’s true personality will be revealed.  One should not despair because of Divine judgment.  Its reason will be revealed sooner or later.  It is only a matter of time.  Such trust in Hashem is not, as mentioned, the same as laziness, inactivity, or reliance on miracles.  It is full confidence that the Master of the Universe controls events and does not abandon His creatures to happenstance.  At the same time, a person is discerning, rational, and takes responsibility for his actions, whatever the results may be.  He knows well that the world belongs to the Master of the Universe, and he will eventually have to give a Divine accounting for all that he did.

And above all else, he knows in the depth of his heart that all of historical occurrences, whether personal or communal, are arranged according to Divine wisdom and justice. This is trust in Hashem.

 

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