Monday, August 19, 2013

Blogging Elul Day 12: Trust (in God)?

From Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day-

"In developing the quality of shmirat halashon [guarding one's speech], one must strive to forever strengthen himself in matters of bitachon, trust in God. Bitachon is a sacred and vital component of Divine service as a whole, and is crucial for proper observance of shmirat halashon.

"For example, let us suppose that someone does something to slight someone else's honor or affect his livelihood in some way. The victim's heart burns with a strong desire to make known the wrong done to him. He finds it difficult to quell this desire. Then, he begins to reflect upon the Sages' teaching that no one can affect that which has been Divinely ordained for his fellow be it a financial gain or mark of honor, even a hairsbreadth (Yoma 38a). His desire is quelled.

"David said, "Trust in [God] and do good, that you may dwell in the land and nourish [yourself] with faithfulness (Tehillim 37:3). David first exhorts us to trust in [God] and only then do good, for Divine trust is a solid foundation upon which any good endeavor should be established."

The idea of trusting another--never mind God--may seem quaint to us. We spend a lot of time trying to hide vulnerabilities, putting our best foot forward. But what would it mean for us to do as the Chofetz Chaim suggests? Would we be more able to do good, to see good in the world, if we had more Divine trust?

During Elul we recite words from Psalm 27: "Hope in Adonai, be strong and of good courage. Hope in Adonai." The word "kaveh" means 'hope', but would it be more accurate to say trust in God gives us the courage to trust each other?

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