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Parshas Vayishlach (5778)

This Holiday Season ... Give the Gift of Bitachon

No, it's not a new miracle weight-loss pill. Nor is it a muscle-relaxing massage therapy you can use at home. But this amazing product has been shown to effectively reduce stress in most people who use it. And, what's more, it is absolutely free!!!!

Bitachon (generally translated as "trust" and pronounced bee-tah-KHONE) means the ability to place our trust in G-d, realizing that our All-knowing and All-powerful Creator and Father in Heaven, Who loves us more than we love ourselves, ultimately controls the circumstances of our lives, and has only our absolute best interests in mind. This spiritual remedy, when used properly, can drastically reduce much of the stress and even fear that we inevitably face in life, and can help us achieve a peaceful state of mind and soul, no matter what kind of situation we are facing.

By now, you are probably wondering where you can get this free "miracle drug". Is this a one-time promotion, or is bitachon readily available at all times?

The truth is that there is no quick way to "get" this amazing, stress-reducing remedy. [Dial 1-800-B-I-T-A-C-H-O-N for your free gift! Order now, and receive this complimentary Hebrew-English Prayer Book! Manitoba residents pay 5% sales tax. Stress reduced in 30 days, or your money back!]

Bitachon is something which must be developed and enhanced throughout the course of one's lifetime - it doesn't come easy. Trust in G-d is not just a good thing to have - it is actually a Biblical commandment. Though the truth is that is it much more than that. For the better part of our nation's history, Jews have lived with great bitachon as a way of life. But to get to that point where we can actually incorporate the lessons of bitachon into our daily lives, and be able to greet the ups and downs of life with greater calm and faith, entails knowing and studying certain fundamental ideas about G-d and His connection to us.

To help us start developing this wonderful trait of bitachon and trust in G-d, I present to you an excerpt from a wonderful essay titled Know There is a G-d, written by the late great tzaddik and visionary, Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZT”L, founder of Aish HaTorah, the rest of which can be found online at Aish.com http://www.aish.com/spirituality/foundations/1-Know_There_is_a_God.asp:

FOUR STEPS TO TRUST IN G-D

Rabbeinu Bechaya, in his 12th century book of self-improvement Duties of the Heart, describes four key steps to build trust in G-d:

STEP ONE - UNCONDITIONAL LOVE Realize that the Al-mighty loves you with unbounded love. The closest thing we can compare this to is the love a parent has for a child. The Al-mighty is our Father in Heaven. His love for us exceeds all the love in this world. Awareness of G-d is to live with this realization. Deep down we know that G-d loves us. Anyone in trouble prays to G-d. This is true even of people who have ignored Him all their lives. As the saying goes, "there's no atheist in a foxhole". Even if you've done everything wrong, when you need your Father, He's there.

STEP TWO - DIRECT LINE The U.S. Defense Department spends millions of dollars each year to send broadcast signals to distant stars, on the chance there's life out there. It may take 2,000 years for the signals to get there, but they're still listening 'round the clock. If they ever get an answer -- even just a "hello" -- the whole world would be flabbergasted. Have you ever had a prayer answered? Four out of five people will say "yes." The Creator of this universe has privately communicated with you. It's mind-boggling. Most people whose prayer was answered didn't even know in which direction to send the signal! They simply said, "G-d, please help..." Five billion human beings, a whole galaxy of planets and stars -- and G-d answered this individual! The mitzvah of belief and trust in G-d means living with the reality that you're not alone. G-d's awareness and attention to every detail is constant. He picks up signals when you ask.

STEP THREE - G-D DOES IT ALL If your parent gives you a dollar, you're actually diminishing his net worth -- even if he's a multimillionaire. But if the Al-mighty gives you a billion dollars, it does not diminish His net worth. G-d has all the power. He created this universe from nothing. He can make you a genius. He can heal your child. He can do anything. Think about how many miracles G-d made for you to breathe your first lungful of air. A fetus doesn't use lungs; it takes oxygen from the mother's blood. When a child is born, the baby has to breathe on its own and the whole biological system changes. A heart valve closes, the lungs inflate - and it all has to fall into place at exactly at the right time. Think about how much G-d has given you since you were born into this world. He is leading you every step of the way. Everything G-d does for you is a gift. And whatever you want from G-d is nothing compared to what He's already given you. If you're asking for a billion dollars, it's nothing compared to a pair of eyes that He gave you for free. G-d sustains the universe every second - every creature, every blade of grass. G-d makes your heart pump. He provides your food. He created the sun with heat and light. There is nothing that can stop G-d. Your parents, teachers and boss are the delivery people. Every single thing you have is sent from G-d. Knowing this gives you confidence to trust that God will continue to give you everything you need.

STEP FOUR -- BEST OF EVERYTHING G-d doesn't need anything from you. He doesn't need you to eat kosher food, or to observe Shabbat. G-d only wants to give. Everything in the world is for our benefit. So if G-d doesn't grant your desire, you have to ask yourself why. Why hasn't G-d given you 100 million dollars? Maybe it's not good for you. Maybe you'd become arrogant, greedy, excessive. Maybe you'd hire others to accomplish your goals, and you'd miss out on making the effort to try. G-d knows what's good for us. Trust in G-d means understanding that when He doesn't give you something, it's a message. He's trying to wake you up, to get you to reevaluate your goals. Good parents do this with their children, too. A child wants five cookies; you give him one. Or you take him to the doctor to get a shot: The child is crying, "Why are you doing this to me?" But you know it's for his own good. Anytime something bad happens, you have to ask yourself, "Why?" Understand that G-d knows what He's doing. He's trying to raise us up. He knows what's good for us and He wants us to have the best of everything. (end of excerpt)

TWO OBSTACLES ON THE ROAD TO BITACHON

Two of the major impediments (that I find) to our being able to fully trust in and rely on G-d to help us cope with our problems, financial or otherwise, are, (a) the feeling that it's a cop-out; that instead of working harder to solve the problem, we just lean on G-d and use this "bitachon thing" as a crutch, and, (b) the notion that we don't always deserve to be paid personal attention by G-d; maybe we feel that we are not "good enough" for G-d Himself to come through for us when we are in trouble.

Well, as far as bitachon in G-d being a "crutch", I would say that of course we are not supposed to sit back and expect a miracle - we are obligated to make our own hishtadlus, or effort. But, at the same time, we must always remember that it is G-d who will be sending us what we need after we make the effort - we just go through the motions. Additionally, at times, our efforts simply aren't good enough, and it seems like all hope is lost. Then we really need a "crutch" - and I can think of no better crutch in times of need than our Father in Heaven, Who was really with us (whether we realized it or not) throughout the entire ordeal.

And I will let our forefather Jacob deal with the second obstacle to trusting in G-d - the feeling that we don't deserve G-d's help.

JACOB PLEADS WITH "THE BOSS"

In the beginning of this week's Torah portion, we find Jacob preparing for his rendezvous with his brother Esau, who was planning to kill him. Jacob did then what all good Jews do when they are in danger - he prayed to G-d: "I have been diminished by all the kindnesses and by all the truth that You have done to Your servant .... Rescue me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear lest he come and strike me down, mother and children." (Genesis 32:11-12)

Now, I ask you, what kind of a prayer is that? First Jacob tells G-d that the merits he had for performing good deeds have been diminished by all the kindness that G-d has shown him - meaning that he doesn't really deserve any more help - and then he prays to G-d to save him anyway! When you go in to your boss to ask him for a raise, do you say, "Listen, Mr. Gates, I have gotten so many bonuses and benefits from you already for any good work that I have done, so will you now please consider giving me a raise?"

The difference between your boss and the real "Boss" is that your boss pays you a salary based on your work and merit, so if you tell him that you have received enough bonuses already, there's no way in the world that he's going to give you a raise on top of that. But G-d works with a whole different system. G-d gives us kindness after kindness far beyond what we truly deserve. Starting from the day we come into this world, and continuing until the day we die and beyond. And Jacob knew that. So he asked G-d, "You have paid me many ‘extra bonuses’ in the past - even though I hardly deserved them - purely out of your love for me; so please continue to help me out, as I cannot go on without you."

So, you see, we don't have to be too concerned that maybe we don't deserve to be helped by G-d. G-d helped us in the past without asking questions, and He can undoubtedly do it again. So not to worry ‘cuz we’re in good hands!

Shabbat Shalom!!

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