Beit Midrash

  • Jewish Laws and Thoughts
  • Foundations of Faith
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Asher Ben Haim

49. True Faith Brings Trust in God

True and complete faith in God causes one to believe that whatever He does is for the best. This provides a most sturdy defense against hardships and suffering. One who has faith in God is not broken by hardships, but actually receives them lovingly.


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

True and complete faith in God causes one to trust God and to understand that whatever God does is for the best. The belief that whatever God does is for the best provides a most sturdy defense against hardships and suffering. One who has faith and trusts in God is not broken by hardships, but rather receives them lovingly and declares God's acts as just. One accomplishes this by pondering the way God treats all creatures justly. He sees a wonderful world, full of Divine wisdom. He sees millions of creatures, each with his own specific needs, and he notes how God provides for each one. "You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Psalms 145:16).

Although no one can comprehend the details, we can nevertheless appreciate the generalities of the system. We see the proper structuring of all creatures, as well as the Divine goodness and justice which fill the world. And from the generalities we are able to infer regarding the particulars. Just as on a large scale the world is run justly, so too on a small scale. This is the entire purpose of the world - to discover the Divine goodness, and in so doing to reach a personal understanding that whatever happens to every single individual in the world is really for the best and is a blessing.

One who is able to establish this conviction in his heart is like Nachum Ish-Gam-Zu, who, whenever tragedy would befall him, would say, "This too is for the good." One might even rejoice in his suffering if he considers the sins that he has committed. He then looks upon the suffering as someone who has just paid a debt and is joyfully relieved by having his burden removed. He rejoices in the reward and recompense that await him. Such a person has the ability to teach others how to endure suffering, justify God's decrees, and be strong, and he rejoices in the good name that he receives as a result of this.

The above refers to personal tragedy. He will do the same for national tragedies as well. When thoughts arise in his heart concerning the length of the exile, the scattered condition of his people, their spiritual and physical weakness, the hatred and antisemitism displayed by the nations, he will first take solace by declaring God's acts as just. He knows that everything is God's doing and that He is a fair Judge Who renders proper judgment. He will then consider that suffering removes sins and does away with the punishment. It purifies the nation and gives it the ability to attach itself to God's Divinity.

If thoughts of despair are awakened in his heart, questions about the likelihood of Israel's overcoming all obstacles and returning to its high standing; if he begins to wonder, "Can these bones come back to life?" - he immediately contemplates the Egyptian exodus, how the Children of Israel were freed from their state of bondage, and how many favors God bestowed upon us, how many miracles and wonders God performed for us at that time. This serves to assure hope for the future. Complete faith in Israel's redemption is not superficial and extraneous; our talk of redemption is not like the chirping of the starling. Rather, it is a strong and mighty declaration.

This, then, is how the Rabbi describes the nature of a saintly person, the quintessential Jew. The Khazar king responds, saying, "A person like this will live a pleasant life in the Diaspora, and will bear fruits from his faith both in this world and in the World to Come. But one who endures the exile in a state of resentment has practically lost all of his reward, both in this world and in the world to come. His lack of faith and trust causes him to lose his World to Come and to suffer in this world as well. The man of faith, though, is content and he merits both worlds."

Much of the text in the above article is taken from or based upon Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin's translation of The Kuzari (Jason Aronson Inc.).

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