“Stump the Rabbi” with Rabbi Noam Wagner


Am I setting myself up for disaster by having too much Emunah and Bitachon? How will I be able to face reality when it really hits?


Answer >

 This is a very good question, and like a good Jew – let me answer this question with a question:

What is a reality? When you say “one will have to face reality,” what exactly is a reality?

The Rebbe Maharash discusses in his Ma’amorim (See D”h Mi Chamocha 5629. See also Ma’amor of Bosi Legani 5733) the claim that the world is just an apparition, a figment of our imagination. He proves in several ways that this is not true; rather, that the world is a real and true existence.

But it doesn’t stop there: the Rebbe Maharash goes on to explain what this true and real existence is — it is G-dliness!

Chassidus teaches us that the world is not fake, the world is real. But the reality of the world is Elokus, G-dliness.

We are taught that the Torah controls the world. This is not just a story or a philosophy or a Chassidic worldview; it means that when there is a p’sak din, a Torah decision, that will actually make that become a reality in the world, and even alter the exiting reality if need be (See Yerushalmi (Kesubos 1:5) brought and elaborated upon in many Sichos and Ma’amorim).


Because “Hashem looked into the Torah and created the world, a person looks into the Torah and makes the world continue to exist” (Zohar II 168b). Not the spiritual worlds, the physical world! The physical world is a G-dly world created by Hashem.

There is an amazing story that illustrates this:

A Chassid came to the Alter Rebbe asking for a Bracha for his lung disease. The Alter Rebbe told him to travel to Eretz Yisrael, because the Beis Yosef (who lived in Eretz Yisrael) rules in Shulchan Aruch (in the laws of treifos  — regarding animal diseases) that an animal with this particular lung disease is kosher, since the disease is not life-threatening and one can survive it. Being that in Eretz Yisrael the Beis Yosef is the Mara D’asra – the master of his location, the world (in his vicinity) follows his Torah rulings, whereas other poskim ruled otherwise and their ruling would affect their locale, making this disease non-survivable!

Chassidus very much emphasizes that Ein Od Milvado — there is nothing but Hashem!

Not only when I am studying Torah or Davening in the Beis Medrash or in Shul is Hashem the reality, but also in the “regular” reality of the world there is nothing but Hashem. The real reality of my world is G-dliness. Not because I’m looking at it that way, but because that is the truth.

So when we talk about a person not relying “too much” on Hashem so he can deal with and  “accept the reality,” which reality are we speaking about? A foundation of Jewish faith is that the reality is that Hashem runs the world.

Hashem tells us to be involved in making a living: “ubeirachecha Hashem Elokecha bechol asher ta’ase” — the blessing of Hashem comes to a person based on his action in the physical world. But that is only because so Hashem decided that it should be so.

It says (See Tosfos on Shabbos 31a) that a person should be “ma’amin b’Chai Haolamimv’zorea — a Jew believes in Hashem and plants his field,” meaning, he plants only because he believes in Hashem.

A normal person who has seeds won’t waste them by putting them in the ground to rot away. So why does a non-Jew plant? Because he had seen before that the last person who planted seeds got back the grain that grew from his planting plus more. But a Jew doesn’t plant trusting that the seeds will produce grain, he plants because he knows that Hashem controls the world, and Hashem will provide him his livelihood, in this way or another.

Thatfaith in Hashem is what causes him to “waste” his seeds. Not because it seems like that in the world when you plant it grows, but because Hashem commands him to make a hishtadlus and to work his land, but not because the hishtadlus and efforts are what ensure his success in attaining a livelihood.

When we cease to differentiate between Hashem and the reality of the world and begin to view them as one, namely that the reality is controlled and being recreated constantly by Hashem, we will see that Bitachon and Emunah “pay off” in our “realistic” “practical” lives. ■