Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself – Parashat Shemot

January 7, 2015 at 11:26 PM , ,

“….Moshe became frightened and said, “Indeed, the matter has become known.” Pharaoh heard of this incident, and he sought to slay Moshe; and Moshe fled from before Pharaoh…” – Shemot 2:14-15

ַיִּירָא משֶׁה וַיֹּאמַר אָכֵן נוֹדַע הַדָּבָר: וַיִּשְׁמַע פַּרְעֹה אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲרֹג אֶת משֶׁה וַיִּבְרַח משֶׁה מִפְּנֵי פַרְעֹה… – שמות ב, יד-טו

The Torah relates that Moshe became fearful when he realized that others knew that he had killed an Egyptian taskmaster. Later, his fears materialized and his actions become known to Pharaoh. By telling us about Moshe’s worries, which preceded the actual threat to his life, the Torah hints to the extraordinary power of bitachon, complete trust in G-d’s goodness and grace.

Bitachon is more than recognition that G-d orchestrates every detail of existence at every moment and therefore certainty that whatever happens to us is for the very best. Rather, bitachon is absolute confidence and reliance that G-d will grant us goodness in the most obvious and simple sense of the word.

Of this level of bitachon, the verse in Tehilim (32:10) states, “he who trusts in G-d, kindness will encompass him.” This means, “even if one is not worthy on his own accord, bitachon draws down gratuitous kindness on those who trust in G-d (Sefer HaIkkarim 4:46).” This does not contradict the Torah’s promises of reward and punishment for our deeds or misdeeds. Rather, we believe that our fervent bitachon itself makes us worthy of G-d’s blessings.

ng to Fear but Fear Itself

Therefore, if we have genuine bitachon, confidence that our fate is entirely in G-d’s good hands and not subject to natural means at all, and we trust that such bitachon earns us G-d’s gratuitous kindness even if we are not otherwise worthy of it, then we can be absolutely certain that G-d will grant all the good that we desire! To paraphrase the Tzemach Tzedek’s famous advice, if you think positively, the future will be positive.

This principle of bitachon is hinted in the Torah’s account of Moshe’s fright even before Pharaoh sought to execute him. With this the Torah implies that if not for Moshe’s fear, the threat to Moshe’s life would have been averted.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 36, pp. 1-6


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