A Retrospective Implication of Bitachon

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  1. Alan Morinis says:

    No more than bitachon permits you to take ownership of every success in your life. Whether facing a “success” or a “failure”, bitachon is the attitude that I did not write the script, I am not the Director, and I have not been hired to write the reviews, either. My job is to act.

    • micha says:

      Doesn’t believing G-d is maximizing my chance for success minimize my role in any successes? In other words, I don’t see how your first sentence helps me deal with my dilemma.

      The rest of your comment strikes me as nearly Izhbitz. Izhbitz Chassidus teaches that the only thing I have free will about is my internal mental attitude. The only real sin is thinking that I actually defied G-d’s will. They have very interesting things to say about teshuvah and about doing an aveirah lishmah that I never really understood. But it limits my culpability or credit to how I myself turn out. I have problems with such a limited definition of bechirah, it seems to be so un-“gadlus ha’adam”.

  2. Ann Rosen says:

    And does it mean that the all the poor are responsible for their poverty?

  3. The universe is infinitely more complex than any of us can comprehend. History is also that complex. A failure on your part today might lead directly to a success in 20 years that otherwise might not have happened had you been successful today. Your failure today then is success, at least from the Divine perspective.
    You can only really judge what were real successes and failures when you turn 120 and even then from a limited perspective because who knows how your decisions will affect your great-grandchildren?
    Look at this way: if Reuven had been a little faster he’d have rescued Yosef from the pit. Would that have been a real success considering the Divine plan involved?

  4. Joel Salomon says:

    Try this form: “Hashem sets up the world I experience to maximize my opportunity for [appropriate] success.”

    When your efforts do not succeed, failure might be due to insufficient effort; or it might be despite normally-sufficient effort, and due to the goal running counter to the Divine Plan—and you can never (well, hardly ever) tell which it was that caused the failure.

    Does this sound at all plausible?

    • micha says:

      My post obviously wasn’t clear, as all the comments so far touch on one point that I felt I had addressed. I’m emending the post by reformatting one sentence and elaborating as follows (repeating here for commentors who are getting replies by email):

      So, if I am not succeeding, there are really only two possibilities. Either
      1- I am not carrying my own side of the partnership. In which case, Hashem gave me the best chance of success and I made some wrong choice along the way. Or
      2- I have a false definition of “success”. I chose the wrong goal, the wrong thing to try to succeed at. Again, the mistake was all mine.

      I would also address Amy Rosen’s comment on a second level. As I wrote in an earlier post:

      When the Brisker Rav taught [the idea that every middah has its role], a student challenged him with some middos that seem the antithesis of Jewish worship.

      Apiqursus (heresy). How can it be used positively? As we’ve been saying — for me and mine, I can have bitochon (trust [in the A-lmighty]) that everything that happens is as it should be. On another’s account, one needs to be an “apiqoreis” [(heretic)] and not rely on Hashem’s help.

      Krumkeit (warped reasoning). …

      Bitachon only works in the first person, not the third. When it comes to myself, I trust that everything is turning out according to G-d’s plan. When watching the lives of others, I shouldn’t be thinking about Hashem’s plans, and just try to make their lives better (in our usual, more obvious, ways). Bitachon fails in assessing someone else’s poverty.

  5. micha says:

    I should thank everyone for helping me deal with this emotional struggle.

    And understand that if I seem like I’m summarily dismissing your suggestion, perhaps it is just that I am not emotionally ready for its resolution yet.

  6. > I chose the wrong goal, the wrong thing to try to succeed at.

    No, you chose the right goal and the desired outcome in the bigger picture was failure on your part because it will lead to great overall success in the future.
    Again, look at Moshe Rabeinu right after his first meeting with Pharoah.

    • micha says:

      Mishlei 24:16:
      כִּי שֶׁבַע יִפּוֹל צַדִּיק וָקָם וּרְשָׁעִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ בְרָעָה:
      For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise, but the wicked shall stumble upon evil.

      Which brings an interesting light in this context to the next pasuq. Perhaps it makes the point I said in reply to Amy, if we take the lack of rejoicing to be all part of bitachon not working in the third person. v. 17:
      בִּנְפֹל (אויביך) [אוֹיִבְךָ] אַל תִּשְׂמָח וּבִכָּשְׁלוֹ אַל יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ:
      When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not exult..

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Our fallible human plans can also fail because HaShem’s optimum plans that run in another direction need to succeed.

    • micha says:

      Wouldn’t that be an example of my 2nd bullet item? I am at fault for choosing the wrong goal?

      • Bob Miller says:

        If you were fully capable, in the situation you were then in, of choosing the right goal, perhaps yes. If not, no. For whatever reason, you could have been less than fully aware of the right goal at that time. Your lack of readiness then may or may not have been your fault. I recall reading that certain events like Chet Ha’Egel were made to happen because a lesson about teshivah had to be imparted.

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