Mikeitz 5784: Beis Haleivi on Bitachon vs. Hishtadlus

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Shiur presented in 5774

Parshas Mikeitz:  Beis Haleivi on Bitachon vs. Hishtadlus (5774)

Two More Years Inside for “Remember me”

Rabosai, what we’re about to share with you today is a subject which is יושב בחושך, a subject that sits in darkness. It’s shrouded in a lot of obscurity. Everybody feels he’s entitled to weigh in on this subject based on his emotions or based on what he heard from his mother’s emotions or his grandmother’s emotions.

In this week’s parshah, we start off with the fact that it was “at the end of two years.” (Bereishis 41:1). Yosef Hatzaddik was sentenced to a term of ten years in prison, but it was extended another two years. Yosef was a model prisoner. He never made any tzaros. The people in charge of the prison trusted him. He was running the whole prison. Why did they keep him for another two years? Usually, they make trumped-up charges or something. What did they get him on now? The Torah tells us that what happened was Yosef relied on the sar hamashkim. The sar hamashkim told him the dream, and then Yosef told the sar hamashkim,“Do you know why you had this dream in this prison? Have you dreamt before? How come you had this dream now? The reason you had this dream is because you are my vehicle to get out of this prison. Hashem made you have this dream to be mechazek me and let me know you’re my ticket out of here because you’re going to get out and come before Pharaoh. And when you come before Pharaoh, remember me. I’m an innocent victim. Put in a word for me.”

Now, that was the truth. That was the reason why the sar hamashkim had the dream, as it eventually came out. What happened was Pharaoh had a dream, and the sar hamashkim remembered, “Ah! A dream for a dream,” gezeiras shaveh, and that’s how Yosef got out.

But Yosef Hatzaddik erred. He tried to help it along. He tried to oil the road to make something happen. What did he do? He put in a good word for himself. He told the sar hamashkim,“You’re my ticket out of here. Make sure you get me out of here.” And he said it twice, “זְכַרְתַּנִי…וְהִזְכַּרְתַּנִי – Remember me. Remember me” (Bereishis 40:14).

Chazal tell us (Midrash Rabbah 89:3) because he said, “Remember me, remember me,” Hashem added two years to his sentence.[i] What a harsh sentence! Yosef is put through such Gehinom for another two years because he said, “Remember me, remember me.” And it wasn’t the wrong shtickel Torah. It was the right thing. It was true!

So imagine the following. Imagine a very rich man would call you up and say, “I’d like to have a chat with you. Your name came across my table. I know you’re looking for some money.” Let’s say you’re making a chasunah. You’re making a bar mitzvah. You’re trying to buy a house. He said, “I’d like to have a meeting with you.” You’d probably say, “Wow. Baruch Hashem.”So, you go to meet him and you say, “Reb Mendel, do you understand why my name came across your table? Because Hashem wants you to be my ticket to get me out of the hole I’m in. So don’t start up with Hashem. Make sure you carry out the mission that you were chosen for.” And then this Reb Mendel says, “You know what? It was a mistake. I regret having ever met you. Do me a favor – goodbye.” And when you leave, you say to yourself, “Where did I go wrong?! I mean, it was clearly min hashamayim that somebody mentioned my name to Reb Mendel. That’s clear. He doesn’t do it to anybody else.” But you wanted to make sure that he’s going to carry it out.

Yosef Hatzaddik saw it clearly. He had no doubt. But he told the fellow, “My friend, you’re my ticket. Remember me. Don’t forget.”

Now, from that Chazal, it would seem that Yosef had a chisaron in his bitachon in Hashem. On the other hand, we find that it says, אשרי הגבר אשר שם ה’ מבטחו, “fortunate is the man who makes Hashem his source of security.” (Tehillim 40:5). And it says in the Midrash (ibid), the quintessential ba’al bitachon is Yosef Hatzaddik. Zeh Yosef. So, on one hand, Chazal say that Yosef is the epitome of ba’al bitachon, while in that same Midrash we find Yosef being criticized for not being a ba’al bitachon – when he said זְכַרְתַּנִי וְהִזְכַּרְתַּנִי – and being imprisoned for two more years as a result!

The Brisker Shitah on Bitachon

So the Beis Halevi says the pshat is simple. I want you to understand this is the Brisker shitah. The Beis Halevi – כדאי הוא לסמוך עליו. He knew what he was talking about. And he tells us a phenomenal yesod. He says, hishtadlus is only a heter. That’s the first yesod. Now, I want you to understand what the chiddush of the Beis Halevi is and from where others were led to believe otherwise. There’s a passuk in Devarim (15:18). It says: וברכך ה’ אלקיך בכל אשר תעשה“Hashem is going to bless youin everything that you do.” Chazal come along and say יכול, I would think, אפילו יהא יושב בטל, even if a guy would sit there and do garnisht,Hashem will help him, תלמוד לומר בכל אשר תעשה, comes the Torah to teach us otherwise, that Hashem will bless you in all that you do, meaning only if you put in some effort.[ii]

This isthe source of people reaching a (wrong) conclusion and saying, “Hashem helps those who help themselves.” And this is the source of people saying the more hishtadlus, the more brachah. בכל אשר תעשה – the more you do, the more blessing.

Says the Beis Halevi, that’s not correct. Hishtadlus is a heter. That’s number one. And second of all, בכל אשר תעשה,doesn’t mean as much as you do. It means in any amount that you do. That means the slightest amount could be enough for Hashem’s brachah to come on you. Rabbosai, I want you to hear these two noradige chiddushim, noradige revelations.

How do you know how much you have to do? What does it mean you’ve got to “do something”? If it’s a heter,why do you have to do anything?! Zugt the Beis Halevi, that a Jewish person understands that Hashem is the one who gives him his sustenance. If he doesn’t understand that, he’s totally out of the loop. It’s like a guy imagining that when he’s walking on the ground, he’s walking upside down. (But I’ll tell you he’s right because if you look at the globe if I’m on the bottom and this is the top, I’m walking upside down.) You wish the guy a refuah sheleimah,and you tell him to get help. It’s the same thing when a guy tells you, “You earn your money.” The person who says he earns his money and he believes that, has no shaychus to reality because the fact of the matter is your money is fixed. It’s designated. It’s decided. You cannot “earn” any money – get that into yourself! That’s not a Brisker shitah – that’s a shitah of a Torah mind! That’s the basic Jewish thought: you don’t earn money. The statement of “I earn money” is kefirah. It has nothing to do with reality. At the beginning of every year, Hashem sets a certain amount of money aside for you. Now the shaylah is what’s the delivery system? How is it delivered?

So Hashem allows Jewish people to do some hishtadlus. The Torah doesn’t expect the average person to sit at home and wait for Hashem to come up with a “delivery system” and send him the money. No. That’s for a big ba’al madreigah. That’s not what Hashem demanded or expected from an ordinary Jew. So the ordinary Jew is permitted to go out and do work to create a delivery system. He enables Hashem to send him the money via carpentry, law, dentistry, or carrying packages. That’s what hishtadlus means. You are allowed to be meshtadel to create a delivery system. You’re not meshtadel to earn your money. When you go out on your work, you say, “Now I am certain that Hashem will deliver me the money He chose for me.” That’s the whole point here: to remember Hashem will deliver the money He set aside for me. So if we didn’t have a heter of hishtadlus, a person would (mistakenly) think that Hashem expects him to sit around and say, “Hashem, You chose how much money You are giving me. Send me the check, and I will not go to work.”

Doing Just The Right Amount Of Work

How much are you allowed to work? You’re allowed to work the amount you decided allows you to feel secure that now there is a delivery system in place. If you believe that what you do creates a delivery system for Hashem, and now Hashem has a way of delivering the money, and you feel secure, He will. But if you go and do more than that and try to create a second delivery system, that is totally asur. Completely not allowed.

For example, let’s say a guy has a job, and works eight hours a day. You ask the guy, “Excuse me, do you believe if you worked seven hours and forty-five minutes you would end up with less money than Hashem chose for you at the beginning of the year?” If the guy says, “Nah. It’s not going to make any difference,” then that fifteen minutes of work is asur. Here is a fellow who decides his wife should go to work. Why? He wants to make more money. Now you’ll ask that fellow, “Do you believe that the system you set up is  insufficient for Hashem to deliver the money to you?” The guy says, “No, I believe it’s sufficient. I just want more.” That’s totally asur because there’s no such thing as “more.” If the guy would say, “I don’t believe that the system I have in place could get me all the money that I feel Hashem has in store for me. I am working a couple of hours a day or at this menial job, and I don’t truly believe that Hashem could send me the money that He designated for me.” Then you have to go to work. You could work more. Will you get any more than Hashem designated for you? No.

The Beis Halevi says as follows. This heter comes along with a very bad negative rap. There’s a real downside to this belief. You know why? Let’s say I believe that Hashem will not give me the money that’s coming to me this year unless I work two jobs and my wife works two jobs. The Beis Halevi says you will not get the money Hashem designated for you unless you and your wife are doing all four jobs! So he says, if you believe that you need to work two jobs, you’re not going to get the money without working two jobs – because you don’t believe that Hashem will give you the amount of money you’re earning from both jobs, by working one job! So if you don’t believe it, that’s fine; the delivery matches the work. But if you believe that it could come from one job, then the second job is asur. The second job is totally prohibited.

Mach A Bissel Parnoosah?

When somebody comes and tells you, “How are you going to earn a living?” say to them, “When you talk like that, I can’t have a conversation with you.” I don’t care who it is. It’s your grandmother. It’s your mother. “If you’re asking how I’m going to earn a living, that is not a Jewish question. That’s like saying which church I worship in. I don’t have such conversations with anybody. I don’t do that. We don’t earn any money.”

Now, if your mother wants to know, “How do you expect Hashem to give you the money He has designated for you?” You should say, “Ah! So I’ll tell you, Ma. I sincerely believe that if I work x amount at this job, Hashem could give me the money that I have coming to me. And I don’t have to push.” Your mother would say, “Ah, you’re being unrealistic! You’re being childish!”

Now, it could be she believes that, and in her heart, she has the belief that you can’t make money unless you work that much. Eight hours, nine hours, whatever she believes. I feel very bad for her. I hope she never has to go to work because if she does, she’s going to have a very hard time making the money, and her poor husband may have to work more than he thinks is necessary. But if you believe that Hashem could give you the money with less hishtadlus, that’s all you’ll need to do.

That’s the pshat. וברכך, Hashem will bless you,בכל אשר תעשה. Not as much. It means as little. As little as you do, if you believe that Hashem could give you the parnasah that way, it’s finished. That’s enough hishtadlus.

Now the Beis Halevi’s chiddush is that hishtadlus is a heter. The Ramchal, in his sefer Mesillas Yesharim (Chapter 21) says it’s not a heter.[iii]It’s an obligation. But the chiyuv is to do as minimal as possible because the work has absolutely nothing to do with you receiving the money. It’s just a curse. After Adam Harishon sinned, man got cursed, and therefore, mankind has to do some labor. The labor has nothing to do with the earning. He says it’s like a tax. It’s like when you go on the road, and you pay a toll. It’s just a charge that they charge you for going on the road, but there’s no cost for you driving on the road. It just happens to be if you want to go down this road, you’ve got to pay the taxes.

Going to work is not a form of earning your money. You might have thought that the curse was that you now have to work and earn money. Chas veshalom, he says. It’s a tax. The Beis Halevi says it’s a heter. Meaning, you’re allowed to be meshtadel as much as you need to have bitachon you’ll receive what Hashem has in store for you. But according to the Beis Halevi you also have to work that amount. As much as you believe you need is the amount that is mutar and the amount that is required.

When you see a guy working two jobs, I look at that guy, and feel this guy is a slave for no reason.

The Doctor Who Saved 15 Minutes

I once did this with two people I knew. One was a doctor, and one was a regular businessman. I said to the doctor, “Do you believe if you left fifteen minutes early, it would affect your income?” He said, “No.” I said, “You should know it’s asur for you to work that fifteen minutes.” A few months later, I said to him, “Tell me, do you believe if you worked another fifteen minutes less, it would affect your income?” He said, “No.” I said, “Now it’s asur for you to work that extra fifteen minutes. Go use that time to learn.” Last I heard, the guy was up to sixteen or twenty hours a week that he took away from his parnasah – and this doctor was a guy who promised me before I even started making him frum that if he didn’t work on Shabbos, he wouldn’t have any income. Then he saw. He stopped working on Shabbos, and he had an income. Even though with the type of practice he has, the most money is made on Shabbos because it’s an elective type of healthcare. You don’t have to do it. People could live without it. It’s not an emergency. But you see mamash an amazing thing! He saw how he still made the same amount!

The Marketing Man Who Saved Hours

The other guy was someone I used to learn with. I told him, “Eight hours a day is too much. It’s not necessary in your business because you make sales. There’s no reason you can’t make sales for seven and a half hours.” Then he went to seven, and eventually he was working four hours a day. He had a partner. He and his partner both made the exact same money, with the partner working eight hours. The partner had a ta’anah on him. The partner’s ta’anah was, “You see, you’re a better salesman than me. If you would work eight hours, you would make double.” He said,“You forgot how I used to work with you eight hours a day. I always made the same money. You and I always made the same money. Now I’ve just learned how to make that money in less time.”

Pick A Job With Potential for Bitachon

This is a very lomdishe zach,but you have to understand this before you go to work. That’s why I tell people, “Don’t get a job that’s going to pay you $8 an hour or $10.” You know why? Because in that job, it’s going to be very hard for you to believe how you could make more parnasah per hour. You always want to get into something like sales. It’s a tremendous zach. Or get into a zach that’s not fixed.

So you know what happens? People have a double-edged sword. One guy said, “If there’s no fixed income, then I get scared. I’ve got to see cash in my hand.” So the guy will sell himself for $10, but then he can’t figure out how Hashem could deliver him $50 for an hour’s work if all this job pays is $10. So he’s stuck. But if a person undertook a job with endless possibilities, you could say, “Okay, how much bitachon do I have now? $10? $20? $30 per hour?” Whatever it is. But you know for sure you’re getting all the money that’s intended for you.

Family Ties

But the worst thing is when you get a bachur whose dear loving mother or grandmother, who loves him to death decides to take him out of the misery of his life, and put him into the miserable life that she came from. What does she do? She says to him, “You can’t sit and learn. That’s not a life of reality. You’ve got to get into the real world, my son. Yeshivah is not the real world. You don’t make money from a yeshivah. How do you think I pay the bills? How do you think your mother pays the bills? Not from yeshivah. They work hard. These people work hard.” Nebach,they worked hard. They didn’t have to work hard! If they would have learned more and worked less, they would have seen the hand of Hashem. But if a person doesn’t have bitachon, he thinks he needs five jobs – that is a nightmare.

Calculations That Are Off The Mark

It could be that a guy is working very hard, but he really thinks that to get the money he needs a year, he needs to work two jobs. Hashem will never give him that money otherwise. The money is pashut waiting for him. The money is sitting there and waiting for this guy. Hashem says, “You turned the faucet off too early.” Hashem says, “You thought you needed 80 grand a year? That’s what I have for you.” I also thought so. Sometimes a person makes a wrong cheshbon. He thinks 80 grand, and Hashem says you’re wrong. I think 60 grand. You don’t need five cell phones, one for every one of your kids and one for your grandkids. Even if you’ve got a family-plan deal or something. Who said you need two cars in your family and lease them at $600?

Not long ago, I spoke to the guy running Mesila over here. They take care of families with parnasah problems. He said, “I can’t begin to tell you,” he tells me, “how many families come to me, and they have an income of, let’s say, $1400 a month. It’s amazing. They have no qualms to lease cars for $800. I ask them, ‘What are you thinking? How could you lease two cars for $800?’” He said one family came with two leases for $1000 each. Each one had a new car. He told them, “But you can’t afford it! How are you paying for the car?! How are you paying for your life?!” Credit cards. Stupidity deluxe. It does say ‘שומר פתאים ה, Hashem does watch the fools, but sometimes He watches the fools go down the drain.

A person has to understand this system. I went to my rebbi (Rav Meir Halevi Soloveichik) before I got married, and said to him, “Rebbi, I’m concerned. Help me find a rich girl to marry so I should be able to have parnasah,” because I didn’t have a lot of bitachon and I felt that I had to create some kind of delivery system. I needed a system. So I figured my wife’s father would be my system. That would be my ticket. So I decided on a big price tag for those days. I made a nice little sales sign, for sale, attached a tag to myself and anybody who wanted to do a shidduch, this was the price.

Easy Money – The Real Way

My rebbi told me, “Let me give you some advice. Instead of worrying how Hashem is going to give you the money, work as much as you can on being meshtadel to acquire bitachon, because if you’ll be meshtadel to acquire bitachon, that will minimize your necessity for hishtadlus later on.” He told me, “You’re thinking wrong. The more you think about, ‘how am I going to have easy hishtadlus to get big money,’ the more you think about hishtadlus and how much you need, you’re going to need to be meshtadel more. Instead, be meshtadel to believe and to understand that Hashem could give a person money in so many ways, in the easiest way. Once you come to that, for the rest of your life, you won’t have to be meshtadel anymore. But if you’re thinking, ‘The lifestyle that I’m trying to live – I want to live in Yerushalayim… You want to buy an apartment today, $850,000 for a chatzi decent apartment…And I’d like a car too. And I’d like to have guests’… Start off with a million, and then you need a few hundred thousand dollars every year…It’s not shayach. How is it coming?”

So now, the Beis Halevi says, the understanding of Yosef Hatzaddik is pashut. He says Yosef Hatzaddik was the quintessential symbol of bitachon. He knew that Hashem could do anything for him and he didn’t need to put in any hishtadlus whatsoever. And he got that ‘phone call’ from the sar hamashkim – that was Hashem calling him on the phone and saying, “My dear Yosef, heads up. Your time is coming. I’m getting you out. I’m sending you the sar hamashkin.”You know what he should have said? “Hashem, baruch Hashem, baruch matir asurim.” You know what happened? He said twice to the guy,“Remember me. Remember me.” A little hishtadlus. You know what Hashem said to him? “You don’t have any heter to do that hishtadlus!I know that you know I’m getting you out. Not this sar hamashkim. Not this Egyptian alcoholic. He drinks wine all day long and feeds the king wine all day long. He ain’t getting you out. I just used him to give you a message that you’re getting out.” But Yosef jumped at it, and said, “Remember me, remember me.” Hashem said, “You didn’t need to do that. That was hishtadlus asurah. And for doing that you’re getting another two years.” Even a tiny, little hishtadlus was considered too much for Yosef.

How many times do we mess ourselves up? That’s what a person has to know. Oy yoy yoy yoy.

Buy Bitachon, Not Bitcoins

So therefore Rabbosai, our job in life is to acquire bitachon. People who stay late at work, it’s asur. Instead of getting your mind fried on, “How do I come up with ideas? I need better ideas, how to bring the cash in,” you have to be mechazek yourself over and over, “I don’t earn any money. I cannot earn any money. Whatever money was designated by Hashem is going to come to me in some fashion.” As you go through life, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll see how Hashem gives people who believe, “I’m doing what I can, and the rest is up to Hashem.” Let’s say there’s a guy working. He’s working six hours, or he’s working eight hours. Whatever he’s doing. He is saying, “The rest is up to Hashem.” That is called having bitachon. But when a guy says, “I’m not working enough,” then it’s oh boy, oh boy, oh boy![iv]

The Bottom Line

We should not make a mistake and think that hishtadlus is what brings our parnassah, or that we “earn money” with our hishtadlus. Rather, as the Beis Halevi explains, hishtadlus is merely a heter that creates a “delivery system” which then enables us to receive what was already decreed for us by Hashem on Rosh Hashanah. Whatever time at – or type of – work  that we decide would allow us to feel secure in establishing this “delivery system” for Hashem to give us our parnassah, that’s how much we may work.. However, we are bound by our beliefs regarding a standard “eight hour” work day. If we truly believe that Hashem could provide for us, with us doing less hishtadlus, that’s all we need to do. Creating additional “delivery systems” – because we think that Hashem will not give us parnassah unless we exert extra effort – is not only assur, but it unfortunately locks us in into another “system,” whereby we would be required to do that extra (but according to the Beis Haleivi, unnecessary) hishtadlus just to receive the basic parnassah we think we need! This coming week I will ask myself if my choices in parnassah make it easier or harder to have bitachon. Is there potential for endless possibilities in my paycheck? Is there potential to reduce time spent working in order to learn a little bit more or to be mekarev someone? I will try one time this week to focus less on how Hashem is going to give me money, and more on whether I am being meshtadel to acquire bitachon.

[i] אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר שָׂם ה’ מִבְטַחוֹ (תהלים מ, ה), זֶה יוֹסֵף. (תהלים מ, ה): וְלֹא פָנָה אֶל רְהָבִים, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁאָמַר לְשַׂר הַמַּשְׁקִים (בראשית מ, יד): זְכַרְתַּנִּי וְהִזְכַּרְתַּנִּי, נִתּוֹסַף לוֹ שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים, וכו’.

[ii] מדרש רבה פרשת מקץ. אשרי הגבר אשר שם ה’ מבטחו זה יוסף. ולא פנה אל רהבים שעל ידי שאמר לשר המשקים כי אם זכרתני והזכרתני נתוסף לו שתי שנים. ורבים חקרו על המדרש מה שאמר בתחילה זה יוסף. וביאורו הפשוט, דהנה באמת התורה התירה לאדם ההשתדלות בצרכי גופו וכמשאה”כ וברכתיך בכל אשר תעשה. וכן כתיב ואספת דגנך ותירושך ואמר ר’ ישמעאל במסכת ברכות (דף ל”ה) הנהג בהם מנהג דרך ארץ ועיקר הענין יש לומר דזהו כלל לאיש הישראלי שיהיה לבו שוקט ובוטח בה’ והא דהתירה התורה להשתדלות הוא משום דלא כל אדם יכול להגיע למדרגת הבטחון הגמור וע”כ הותר לו ההשתדלות כדי שיהיה לו סיוע שיגיע למדריגת הבוטח וצריך כל אדם לחדש לו מלאכה ועסק כדי שיהיה נקל לו לבטוח בה’. וכמו דמצינו בכל התורה שהתירה לפעמים כדי שיהיה לו סיוע לבא להמדרגה המבוקשת, וכמו שאמרו לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ומצות אפילו שלא לשמה שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה. הותרה שלא לשמה כדי שיהיה סיוע לבא לבחי’ לשמה וא”כ שיעור ההשתדלות הנרצה אינו שוה בכל אדם רק כל אחד לפי ערכו, דמי שיכול להגיע לבטוח במעט מלאכה אזי מה שירבה להשתדל יותר מכפי הנצרך לו לזה השיעור כבר יחשב לו לחטא נגד מדת הבטחון כי הרבה להלוך אחרי ההשתדלות ולא בטח. ומי שבטחונו עדיין קטן משל חבירו יוכל לעסוק במלאכתו יותר מחבירו עד שגם הוא יהיה יכול להשקיט רוחו ולבו לבטוח בה’ דעיקר בחינת בטחון הוא השקטת רוחו ולבו להשליך על ה’ יהבו. ומי שמרבה בהשתדלות יותר מכפי הנצרך עונשו שמן השמים יוסיפו על הצטרכותו להשתדלות ולא יוזמן לו פרנסתו רק ע”י יגיעת בשר, הדרך שבחר לו והנה השתדלותו של יוסף שאמר לשר המשקים כי אם זכרתני אל פרעה הוא השתדלות קטנה ופחותה שנוכל לשער דהרי אין בו רק דיבור אחד ובפרט כי ראה יוסף כי מן השמים הוא בא, והרי יוסף הבין דכל מה שהובא השר המשקים לבית הסוהר וכן כל חלומו הוא רק כדי שמזה תצמח גאולה ליוסף. (ובאמת רזה לשון הפסוק שאמר לו יוסף בערד שלשת ימים ישא פרעה את ראשך והשיבך על כנך גו’ כי אם זכרתני אתך וגו’ ועשית נא עמדי חסד והזכרתני אל פרעה והוצאתני מן הבית הזה. ולכאורה בפסוק זה הוא כפל ענין ראריכת דברים ללא צורך, וי”ל דלא אמרו יוסף בלשון בקשה רק אמר לו בגדר מגיד עתידות שאמר לו מה שיהיה לעתיד והשיבך על כנך והיית במדרגה גדולה כמקדם אשר רק כי אם זכרתני אל פרעה יפעלו דבריך אצלו רעשית נא עמרי חסר, ושוב אמר לו והזכרתני אל פרעה שכן יהיה לעתיד שאתה תזכירני לפרעה והוצאתני מן הבית), וכיון שרון חנן שיוסף נענש גם על זה הא מוכח מזה דכל כך היה בטחונו גדול עד כי גם זה המועט למותר נחשבה לו ומזה העונש ניכר גודל בטחונו מה שאין לשער ממש. וזהו שאמרו אשר שם ה’ מבטחו זה יוסף ולא פנה אל רהבים דלפי גודל בטחונו לא היה לו לפנות כלל אל רהבים ואפילו בדיבור קל. (בית הלוי, פ’ מקץ)

[iii] אָמְנָם מָה שֶׁיּוּכַל לִשְׁמוֹר אֶת הָאָדָם וּלְהַצִּילוֹ מִן הַמַּפְסִידִים הָאֵלֶּה הוּא הַבִּטָּחוֹן, וְהוּא שֶׁיַּשְׁלִיךְ יְהָבוֹ עַל ה’ לְגַמְרֵי, כַּאֲשֶׁר יֵדַע כִּי וַדַּאי אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיֶּחְסַר לָאָדָם מָה שֶׁנִּקְצַב לוֹ, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ זַ”ל בְּמַאַמְרֵיהֶם (ביצה ט”ז א): כָּל מְזוֹנוֹתָיו שֶׁל אָדָם קְצוּבִים לוֹ מֵרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וְגוֹ’, וְכֵן אָמְרוּ (יומא ל”ח ב): אֵין אָדָם נוֹגֵעַ בַּמּוּכָן לַחֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ כִּמְלֹא נִימָא. וּכְבָר הָיָה אָדָם יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת יוֹשֵׁב וּבָטֵל וְהַגְּזֵרָה הָיְתָה מִתְקַיֶּמֶת, אִם לֹא שֶׁקָּדַם הַקְּנָס לְכָל בְּנֵי אָדָם, (בראשית ג:יט): בְּזֵעַת אַפֶּךָ תֹּאכַל לֶחֶם, אֲשֶׁר עַל כֵּן חַיָּב אָדָם לְהִשְׁתַּדֵּל אֵיזֶה הִשְׁתַּדְּלוּת לְצֹרֶךְ פַּרְנָסָתוֹ, שֶׁכֵּן גָּזַר הַמֶּלֶךְ הָעֶלְיוֹן. וַהֲרֵי זֶה כְּמַס שֶׁפּוֹרֵעַ כָּל הַמִּין הָאֱנוֹשִׁי אֲשֶׁר אֵין לְהִמָּלֵט מִמֶּנּוּ. עַל כֵּן אָמְרוּ (ספרי): יָכוֹל אֲפִלּוּ יוֹשֵׁב וּבָטֵל (יראה סימן ברכה) תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: בְּכָל מִשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה (דברים כח:כ). אַךְ לֹא שֶׁהַהִשְׁתַּדְּלוּת הוּא הַמּוֹעִיל, אֶלָּא שֶׁהַהִשְׁתַּדְּלוּת מֻכְרָח, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהִשְׁתַּדֵּל הֲרֵי יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ, וּכְבָר יֵשׁ מָקוֹם לְבִרְכַּת שָׁמַיִם שֶׁתִּשְׁרֶה עָלָיו וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְבַלּוֹת יָמָיו בַּחֲרִיצוּת וְהִשְׁתַּדְּלוּת, הוּא מָה שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם (תהלים עה:ז-ח): כִּי לֹא מִמּוֹצָא וּמִמַּעֲרָב וְלֹא וְגוֹ’, כִּי אֱלֹהִים שׁוֹפֵט וְגוֹ’ וּשְׁלֹמֹה הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם אָמַר (משלי כג:ד): אַל תִּיגַע לְהַעֲשִׁיר מִבִּינָתְךָ חֲדָל. אֶלָּא הַדֶּרֶךְ הָאֲמִתִּי הוּא דַּרְכָּם שֶׁל הַחֲסִידִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים, עוֹשִׂים תּוֹרָתָן עִקָּר וּמְלַאכְתָּן טְפֵלָה, וְזֶה וְזֶה נִתְקַיֵּם בְּיָדָם, כִּי כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָשָׂה אָדָם קְצָת מְלָאכָה, מִשָּׁם וָהָלְאָה אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא לִבְטֹחַ בְּקוֹנוֹ וְלֹא לְהִצְטַעֵר עַל שׁוּם דָּבָר עוֹלָמִי, אָז תִּשָּׁאֵר דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה וְלִבּוֹ מוּכָן לַחֲסִידוּת הָאֲמִתִּי וְלָעֲבוֹדָה הַתְּמִימָה.

[iv] Participant Questions

Q: Participant: (inaudible) [How do we understand why some Rishonim and tzaddikim, who had a lot of bitachon, had less money?] A:I can’t answer those questions. You don’t know what they had and what they didn’t have. You don’t know. [However,] you don’t know of any great people who died of starvation. Hashem is mechalkel chaim bechessed. Now, when Chafetz Chaim had a dream one night that he won the lottery, oooh. The next day, he woke up very worried. He was meitiv the chalom. He didn’t want to win the lottery. That’s interesting. That’s a reason Hashem didn’t give all the tzaddikim [parnassah] by winning the lottery. But [we do see that] they all had what they needed, and they were able to learn. That’s the [ideal] nekudah of hishtadlus. So, no two people, you realize, could work the same amount. Every person could work what he believes he needs to come to bitachon in Hashem. Somebody who could get bitachon with a small amount of work or with a small job, can’t work harder. Somebody who thinks he needs to work more and he can’t get more than an $8 an hour job, that fellow, nebach, is allowed to work more – because it’s a cheit [to work more if you don’t believe you need to]. Bitachon is a mitzvah. You can’t just say, “I’m not having bitachon.” You have to have bitachon. But Hashem gave you a heter to do the minimal amount that it’s going to take for you to get that bitachon.

Q: Participant: (Inaudible). [If someone does more hishtadlus, does it harm him?] A: It’s asur. It will definitely harm him. Two things will happen. The first thing, the immediate thing that will happen is that he won’t get his parnasah unless he works that extra [amount]. That’s the first harm that’s coming to him. And if the guy taka doesn’t need it, he may also be harmed in other ways like by Yosef. Hashem prolonged his imprisonment.

Q: Participant: How do you get off that? A: You work to be koneh bitachon. You do teshuvah. You have to do teshuvah. If a person didn’t have bitachon in Hashem, he could definitely do teshuvah that he didn’t have bitachon in Hashem. And [he could] now start to wean himself off his dependency [on hishtadlus] and say to Hashem, “I realize that I made a mistake and it’s not necessary,” and then he comes back [to doing the right amount of hishtadlus].

Q: Participant: (Inaudible) [Regarding raising money for yeshivos, should a yeshivah have someone who raises money so people can learn?]A: That’s the same thing. That’s what Rav Meir [Soloveichik] once told me. I wanted to get somebody to collect money for my rebbi, so my rebbi said, “If you get somebody to collect money for me and I’m going to say ‘Okay,’ that means I’m going to become dependent on that meshulach,and now I’m going to be stuck. In six months or a year, when that guy says he’s not [collecting or] giving anymore, I’m not going to have my parnasah. Because Hashem says, ‘You believed it was only going to come through somebody collecting money for you, now you’re not getting it otherwise.’”

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