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Of Faith and Trust
“But the seventh year shall be a complete rest for the Land. A Sabbath forG-d.” (25:4)
Sometimes trusting G-d isn’t so easy.
In this week’s Torah portion the Jewish People are told to put down tools once every six years and stop working the fields for a year. G-d tells them to trust that He will provide for them. In the sixth year, He promises that miraculously there will be a bumper crop. This will keep them going for that year, and the next year and the eighth year. Because, of course, seeing as nothing will be planted in the seventh year, there will be nothing to harvest in the eighth. In other words, one year’s crop becomes three. G-d says this is going to happen with clockwork regularity every seven years.
Sometimes, however, when it comes to our own lives it’s not so easy.
That’s the difference between emunah (faith) and bitachon (trust). We can believe that there is a G-d who created everything in existence, who continues to sustain reality from one second to the next, a G-d who rules over everything, everywhere, everyone, every second. But, when it comes to our own lives, we can still fall short in trusting Him when the going gets tough.
I’m often asked how Torah institutions, which receive little if any government assistance, manage to stay afloat financially. And we even are witness to a tremendous growth of the number and size of Torah educational schools worldwide, in addition to a growing number of families that are dedicated to Torah studies despite the high cost-of-living and no “natural” source of income to support a life of Torah.
How do all these institutions and families manage?
Well, let me tell you how one Rosh Yeshiva looks at it. This is a man who has on his shoulders the burden of supporting an institution whose yearly running costs are in six figures. On his last trip to America, he told his donors to prepare “tanks” to receive the outpouring of wealth that G-d is going to bestow on them.
Supporting Torah is a privilege, not a budgetary burden. In the desert, the Holy Ark needed no wagon to carry it from one encampment to the next because “to the sons of Kehat he (Moshe) did not give (wagons); since the sacred service was upon them, they carried on the shoulder.” (Shmot 6:9)
In fact, no one carried the Aron. The Aron carried itself, and also those who “carried” it. The Aron carries its carriers. The Torah supports its supporters, not the other way round.