By Rabbi Shemtov
A fellow who faced a serious crisis visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902 – 1994) the leader of the Chabad movement for his counsel and blessing.
“Do you know what Emunah is?” the Rebbe asked.
“Yes,” said the man, “faith in G-d.”
“Do you know the difference between Emunah – faith, and Bitachon – trust?”
“No,” replied the man.
“Allow me to explain,” said the Rebbe.
“Trust is not simply a higher form of faith. It’s something quite different. When a person with faith is confronted with a problem, he believes G-d will help him overcome it. But a person with trust doesn’t see his difficulties as problems in the first place, because he trusts that G-d doesn’t send problems, only challenges.”
What is the difference between trust and faith?
All who trust believe, whereas many believe without trusting. For faith is not trust.
Rather, faith is a tree, and trust is its fruit. The fruit is proof of the tree’s existence, but a tree can flourish without bearing fruit.
Similarly, to trust in G-d, we must believe in His existence and abilities, whereas trust cannot serve as a prerequisite to faith.
To illustrate this point:
Faith tells us all that we have comes from G-d, and all success we have depends on His will. Trust, on the other hand, is an absolute reliance. We know that G-d will certainly provide.
Faith informs us that all that G-d does is ultimately good. If we experience the opposite of good, our faith is our comfort and strength to continue.
Trust, on the other hand, is our knowledge that G-d’s goodness will certainly reach us in a manner we can readily appreciate as good. Our trust is strong enough to actually reach up and elicit that good.
Neither is trust synonymous with hope.
Hope is light at the end of a tunnel. Trust is not so, trust springs into action in a tunnel that is utterly without light. In an ocean bereft of coastguards. Our trust gets us through it all.
Trust brings calm to our daily lives and it brings peace of mind.
We are certain that G-d will provide rescue and grant us success, to the point that we are free of anxiety.
While faith builds trust, it is the trust, once established, that defines a person’s style and outlook. We know that we are in G-d’s hands, and there is nothing better for us than that. We are one with G-d and we surrender ourselves, along with our worries and fears, to His benevolent guidance.
Parts of this article is taken from the book “Gate of Trust” crica 1080 and its reprint in 2021
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Rabbi Yisroel Shemtov grew up in Brooklyn, NY. After finishing Yeshiva, Rabbi Shemtov went on to becoming or-dained at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. Rabbi Shemtov has served as a student Rabbi in communities across the world. Including in Bulgaria, Wyoming, South Dakota and California where he has led educational and holiday programs. He has taught children through Torah Tutors, an online Jewish studies plat-form.