May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Pinchas saves the day with his heroic act of killing Zimri and Cozbi, thus, putting an end to the raging plague that was causing thousands of Jews to perish. There was much at risk for Pinchas in deciding to plunge forward to take such action: As Zimri was the head of his tribe, Pinchas was, potentially, going to have to face an entire tribe of people to reach Zimri! He would be setting himself up for a likely death. But Pinchas, nevertheless, took the leap and pulled through victoriously.

Where did Pinchas get the fortitude to take such action? What character gave him the ability? Rabbeinu Bechaye (“Introduction to Parshat Pinchas”) explains that it was due to Pinchas’s bitachon in Hashem.

Rabbeinu Bechaye elaborates that there are certain mitzvot that involve immense effort and toil, for example, redeeming captives and saving peoples’ lives. Similarly, there are some mitzvot that require much diligence and unceasing focus, for example, Torah study and acquiring the midah of yirat Hashem. Thus, tzaddikim who have bitachon in Hashem, their soul gives them strength and increases their capabilities, and they, therefore, have the ability and strength to serve Hashem day and night—even if it involves tremendous amounts of effort—they don’t get worn out. As the pasuk says, “Those whose hope is in Hashem will have renewed strength; they will grow a wing, like eagles; they will run and not grow tired, they will walk and not grow weary,” (Yeshaya, 40:31).

Hence, Pinchas—who had bitachon—got the extra boost needed to plunge forward and perform a courageous and mighty act. Rabbeinu Bechaye, perhaps, implies that without bitachon a person may not end up following through on certain mitzvot due to their level of difficulty, even if one knows that it’s the right thing to do. We could learn from here how vital it is to work on bitachon, as it enables one to accomplish so much more in avodat Hashem—even in regards to those mitzvot that naturally carry more difficulty.

Rabbeinu Bechaye also seems to imply that bitachon affords a person the strength to perform and follow through on the more difficult mitzvot: Rav Henach Leibowitz says that our musar masters teach us that through bitachon in Hashem, a person merits to receive certain strengths and powers in a supernatural way—as Hashem gives, “siyata dishmaya” (divine assistance/God’s help) to those who trust in Him to succeed in their ways, and to reach certain accomplishments that one otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach in his regular mode.

However—says Rav Leibowitz—Rabbeinu Bechaya implies that one who has bitachon merits extra capabilities in a natural sense as well. As Rabbeinu Bechaya stated that through bitachon, the tzaddikim’s “soul gives them strength and increases their capabilities.”

We can glean an amazing idea from here. There are certain mitzvot that may require much effort, diligence and time, etc. A person’s energy might become reduced, and it may be more difficult to continue devoting oneself to the fullest extent. Even before one sets out to endeavor on such a mitzvah, one might become overwhelmed just by what’s involved, thinking it’s beyond one’s reach and abilities. Rabbeinu Bechaye is, perhaps, teaching us that having bitachon boosts one’s energy! That trusting that Hashem can help you and wants you to succeed, can give a person reassurance that he can accomplish the given mitzvah, and, naturally, gives one an extra dose of capability and strength to pull through.

After 14 years in the yeshiva of Shem and Ever, Yaakov heads out towards Charan. One night, Yaakov lies down to rest, and Hashem appears to him in a dream. In the dream, Hashem promises Yaakov that He would guard him wherever he goes (Bereishit, 28:15). When Yaakov then continues on with his journey, the pasuk says that Yaakov “lifted his feet, and went …” Why does it say that Yaakov “lifted his feet?” Why doesn’t it simply just say that Yaakov went on with his journey!? Rashi explains that, “Once Yaakov received the good news of Hashem’s promise that He would guard him, his heart lifted his feet and it became easier to walk.”

We, perhaps, see from Rashi that Yaakov—who now had the bitachon that Hashem would protect him, got an energy boost in a natural sense. His heart was warmed by Hashem’s assurance, which gave him the strength to continue on with his journey—it literally became easier to walk! The pasuk (Yirmiyahu, 17:7) says, “Blessed is the man (‘gever’) who trusts in Hashem.” I found it interesting that the terminology that the pasuk uses for “man” is “gever” as opposed to “adam!”

“Gever” is the root of “gibor—one who is strong.” “Gevurah” is “strength.” Maybe, it could be explained that the pasuk specifically uses “gever” in this context of discussing the person who has bitachon; for since bitachon can boost one’s energy and abilities, when someone has bitachon, he can actually become stronger and more capable than before.


Binyamin is a graduate of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchanan, and of Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles