Positive Vision - Day 89
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 89 - Bitachon - Spiritual Success Is Ours for the Asking
A prayer for Hashem’s assistance in ruchniyus is guaranteed to be answered, as R’ Eliyahu Dessler would quote from R’ Yisrael Salanter: “It is a tried and proven fact that a prayer for ruchniyus is always fulfilled.”
Why is this so?
Think of this scenario. A son approaches his father: “Ta, can I have the car keys?” The father eyes his son suspiciously. “What for?” The son responds, “We ran out of that good coffee you like, so Ma asked me to run to the store to get more.” Smiling, the father hands him the keys. How could he refuse his son who wants to do him a favor?
When we ask Hashem for assistance in spiritual matters we show Him that we cherish His presence within us, and that we value that which He values. We are telling Him that we wish to serve Him.
Turning to Hashem for success in ruchniyus matters also generates within ourselves humility. It is a statement that we need Him for everything — even for that which seems to be ours — our capacity to do what we choose. It demands true humility to realize that even our “will” is a gift from Hashem, and to beg Him to help us go in the direction that we know is right.
HaRav Gershon Edelstein suggests yet another consideration: When one prays for material concerns, there is a preexisting decree as to what should have otherwise been, and his prayer may be running counter to it. For instance, a person’s income is predetermined for each year. He may be praying for more than his due. Or there may have been a decree that he should forfeit some income and through his prayer he wishes to overturn that decree. Since he wishes to override a preexisting decree, he may or may not be answered. When it comes to spiritual concerns, however, there is no preexisting state, so there is nothing standing between the prayer and its fulfillment.
Psychologically, as well, praying for ruchniyus demonstrates and generates bitachon in Hashem’s assistance, and this sense of security itself helps one grow. Generally, the desire to change, to push oneself to greater heights, is quite stressful. You are testing your limits, your core essence, to see what you are made of. The stress itself is difficult. But one who turns to Hashem says, “Hashem. I know that You have the power to change everything. This is not about me and my capacities, but rather about You helping me.” By making this proclamation he “decompresses,” as he senses Hashem’s presence holding his hand and encouraging him along. He proceeds with joy and confidence in his mission. The sense of security that Hashem will help allows him to take the plunge. Indeed, Ramban explains the verse: “Trust in Hashem and do good,” as follows:
The verse begins by saying “Trust in Hashem” that Hashem will assist and support you to do His will and mitzvos. It continues that you shall then “do good” — pursue mitzvos vigorously. Do not get discouraged because of your limited capacities. Rather rely on Him and He will help you. This is the meaning of “Trust in Hashem and do good.” This is why the command to trust in Hashem precedes the command to do good.
It is clear from the Ramban that included in the middah of bitachon (trust in Hashem) is the clear belief that Hashem assists us in the fulfillment of His mitzvos. This knowledge provides the serenity needed to extend ourselves beyond our limits.