web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Bitachon And Effort: Finding The Balance

The-Shmuz

“This is how you should make the ark: three hundred amahs long, fifty amahs wide and thirty amahs tall. – Bereishis 6: 15

 

Hashem appeared to Noach and told him the world had turned to wicked ways and was to be destroyed by a deluge. Hashem commanded Noach to build a teivah, an ark, so that he and his family would be saved.

The Torah lays out the dimensions of the ark in exact detail: the length, the height, the width, and the material it was to be made from. The commentaries ask: why do we need to know the exact dimension of the ark Noach built?

Rabbenu Bachya answers that the Torah delineated the size of the teivah to teach us a lesson. Assuming that an amah is a measurement of approximately two feet, the entire construction was not large: 600 feet long, 100 feet wide and 60 feet tall. When we put those dimensions into perspective, it becomes obvious that it would not be possible for all of the animals in the world to fit into such a small area.

Noach was commanded to gather up every species of living creature – from the gorillas swinging in the trees to the cows eating the grass, from the birds flying in the sky to the reptiles creeping on the ground, each was to be represented on the teivah. So many animals could not possibly fit into so small a craft. Even fifty such arks couldn’t house all the animals in existence, let alone the food and supplies needed to support them for almost a year’s time.

And so Rabbenu Bachya explains that we are being taught a significant concept: Man must act in the “Derech HaTeivah,” the ways of the world. Man is commanded to do that which is in his power, and only when he has exhausted all his means, is he allowed to rely on a miracle. Noach couldn’t possibly have built a vessel large enough to house all living creatures. Yet he was commanded to do as much as he could, and then rely on the miracle to fill in the rest.

This concept is the operating principle for our lives. We are obligated to take this world very seriously, all the while knowing Hashem is the One who controls everything. We are obligated to work very diligently at earning a living, knowing that the exact amount of money we are to make that year was set on Rosh Hashanah. We are obligated to seek out medical help – not just any doctor, but the best that is available to us – all the while knowing our health and well-being are completely in Hashem’s hands.

Our hishtadlus (efforts) and our bitachon (trust in Hashem) have to be balanced. A person must use the Derech HaTeivah, acting as if his efforts will determine the outcome, all the while knowing that everything is entirely controlled by Hashem.

But finding the balance between proper hishtadlus and bitachon is very difficult. Invariably, we either put too much stock in our efforts, our business acumen, and our abilities to get things done – or we act irresponsibly in our hishtadlus, saying, “Hashem will provide,” even though we haven’t put in adequate effort. The proper balance can be better understood with a mashol.

When the tightrope walk was first introduced to the circus, it was an exciting act to watch. A highly skilled acrobat would perform frightening dance steps while walking on a thin wire suspended high up in the air. However, everyone knew the danger was limited. Even if the performer slipped, there was always a safety net below to catch him.

Somewhere in course of circus history, the net was eliminated. Now, the acrobat was asked to walk the same distance and perform the same feats, but with one distinction: if he were to fall, there would be nothing there to catch him.

Imagine the electricity in the air the first time that act was performed. There was the tightrope walker, doing the same act that he’d performed thousands of times before, but now one slip, one misstep, and he’d fall to his death on the concrete below. No matter how many times he’d walked the high wire before, this time was different. He was galvanized by the excitement, exhilarated by the danger.

That is an apt parable to our hishtadlus. We have to go about life like that tightrope walker, taking our efforts very seriously, and acting as if the outcome is completely dependent on them. Our attitude has to be, “If I don’t put in the adequate exertion I will fail and fall to the concrete below.” All the while, though, we must know that there is a safety net.

Hashem is there to help and support us, and even more, Hashem completely directs every action in our lives. This is the proper balance we must strike between putting in our own efforts and trusting in Hashem’s close involvement.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Bitachon And Effort: Finding The Balance”

  1. Anonymous says:

    the shaar bitachon is essential reading for this. see http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=380

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. President Barack Obama
Obama’s Creativity: Signing Bonus Substituting for Sanctions Lifting
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

Shmuz-logo-NEW

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet

Hashem placed this world at man’s disposal. In a real sense, man is the steward of Creation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/bitachon-and-effort-finding-the-balance-2/2013/10/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: