Studying Sha’ar HaBitachon, Rabbeinu Bachaya’s “Gate of Trust” ~ the Timeless Torah Book that can teach US ALL to How to Live with Certainty and Discover Tranquility!
Chapter Four, Part Eight: “THE ANOINTING”
We’ve already learnt that exploiting the concept of Bitachon — one’s Trustful reliance on Hashem — by using it to justify taking risks or placing oneself in danger is profoundly wrongheaded.
Rabbeinu Bachaya depicts such reliance on G-d, it not as faithful or religious devotion — but rather as gravely sinful, an act of outright rebellion. Maintaining that in event of mortal failure, a person would be held accountable for having caused their own demise a.k.a. Suicide. This, he then goes on to frame, is (in some respects) even worse than committing murder!
He now brings positive proof for this perspective. Citing a biblical narrative, he conclusively demonstrates the importance of being cautious and doing our part to preserve life. This is clearly illustrated by a bold stand taken by a famous prophet, and Hashem’s reaction to him: Shmuel HaNavi’s reticence to follow explicit instructions — due to personal safety concerns — isn’t viewed as a lack of Trust.
In fact, the loyal Seer’s envisioning of future danger (and resultant reluctance to proceed) is depicted not as unfaithfulness, but instead as true expression of commitment and holy devotion — entirely in keeping with the lofty ideals of Bitachon.
If this is so, despite it concerning a direct command from G-d, how much more so regarding our obligation to be always extremely cautious in taking all reasonable steps to preserve our lives, and never to, Heaven forfend, endanger ourselves!
Having exhaustively discussed the first possible outcome of endangering oneself, e.g., causing one’s demise. We now conclude this lesson by focusing on the second possible outcome – miraculous deliverance.
The author will demonstrate that even if it were to be the case, it would also constitute a grave mistake, and is simply wrong. As such, he conclusively rules out considering the possibility of endangering oneself — due to a sense of certainty that G-d is always in control anyway.
Bottom line: Bitachon should always give one a sense of tranquility and inner calm, yet it should never lead a person to take unnecessary risks!
This Episode is the Eighth segment of the Fourth Chapter of “The Gate of Trust;” comprising the 82nd consecutive video of this ongoing series. It has been generously sponsored by Leslie and Iris Friedman in memory of Leslie’s father, Tzvi Ben Yechiel Halevi, on occasion of his Yahrzeit.
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