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Kislev Goal: Bitachon

I don’t only have an incentive to work on my menuchah — I have a responsibility. Because when I do, everyone gains



Cheshvan in Review — Become a Menuchah Expert

This month, I paid particular attention to the people whom I view as having abundant menuchas hanefesh. I found that they seem to have a similar and related quality: patience for others.

They can be under intense external pressure — an impossible deadline, a screaming child — yet they stay on task, riding the wave.

Generally, I consider myself to be a warm and friendly person. I speak sweetly when I answer the phone at the office, “Hello, how can I help you?” But when I lose my calm, my focus on my goals, my inner anchor to truth, I also lose my ability to convey warmth and positivity to anyone around me. Or more succinctly: When I lose it, you can tell.

I admire people who have menuchas hanefesh not only because they gain all the personal benefits of this middah, but also because they get the tremendous zechus of being able to show love and patience to those around them. Menuchas hanefesh is contagious; it can be shared with others like a flame. You only need to be in the close presence of the fire to catch it, and the original spark loses none of its own energy.

What I discovered this month is that if I pride myself on being a “nice” person, I don’t only have an incentive to work on my menuchah — I have a responsibility. Because when I do, everyone gains.

Kislev Goal: Bitachon

“Complete bitachon in Hashem brings a person to complete menuchah” (Sifsei Chaim, Middos & Avodas Hashem, Part II, Essay 1).

“Among the benefits of bitachon is menuchah of the heart, being free of worldly cares.” (Chovos Halevavos, Shaar Bitachon, Introduction).

“When we examine the essence of bitachon, we see that… one of its benefits is that the one who trusts will have menuchas hanefesh from all worldly concerns.” (Madreigas Ha’adam, Darkei Habitachon)

Many mussar seforim that discuss menuchas hanefesh emphasize that it’s actually a natural outcome of bitachon in Hashem. Meaning, if you want to have menuchas hanefesh, a great way to get there — perhaps the only reliable way to get there — is by relying on Hashem.

Now, I say the phrase “bitachon in Hashem” specifically because we can have bitachon in a lot of things. In Eretz Yisrael the security guard’s uniform proclaims “Bitachon,” which translates literally as “security.” My feeling of security increases somewhat in knowing that there is a guard, but to be honest, this pales in comparison to the panic I feel in knowing that I need a guard!

Only bitachon in Hashem will lead us toward full menuchas hanefesh. Bitachon means genuine belief that Hashem is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, combined with the ability to rely on Him completely.

The self-help books on serenity often discuss the idea of “letting go,” of realizing that we’re not in control and relinquishing the firm grasp we so desperately hold. Yet letting go of your diamond ring and watching it fall over the Brooklyn Bridge won’t really fill you with much calm (even if you know there’s someone down there who’s going to try to catch it). When I let go, my menuchas hanefesh will only be as strong as my trust in the One to Whom I’m relinquishing control.

Occasionally, our family will go on a long trip to somewhere in northern Israel, and my husband does all the driving. I’m in the passenger seat, reading and making phone calls, while also taking care of requests from our kids in the back.

It’s a pleasure. I can sit back and relax because I know my husband is infinitely better at driving than I am. He can make snap decisions without getting frazzled, he’s super vigilant, and his reflexes are incredible. Pretty much the opposite of me: the nervous, self-conscious, inexperienced driver.

Realizing my own limitations is fine, and even allows me to put myself under his care. And every so often, when I think he’s going too fast, and I shove my foot into the floor hoping to slam on the brakes… I remind myself that this isn’t only ridiculous, it’s unnecessary. He’s got it under control.

When we let go and let Hashem run the show, we can feel calmer, knowing that He’s got it under control.

The pasuk tells us “hashlech al Hashem yehavcha v’hu yechalkelecha — Pass your burden on to Hashem, and He will provide for you.” I like to remind myself that even as I’m putting in effort toward a certain goal, I can PASS the job on to Hashem, with the following acronym:

PLAN, but be open to changing the plan if I need to.

ASSURE myself that with Hashem’s help, I can do anything.

STOP reasoning, stop trying to work out the solution. Hashem is much more creative than me.

SEEK Hashem’s help. As soon as I feel worried, I’ll daven and remember that He’s there.

Strengthening my bitachon is a lifetime avodah that can be worked on from many different angles. In Kislev I want to focus on my bitachon as a means toward greater inner calm. I’ll find small areas where I can increase my awareness of my reliance on Hashem by letting go — relinquishing my control and putting myself in His care.



Hashlech al Hashem yehavcha, PASS it on to Hashem.

Hashem is the best driver.

I’m in Your Hands.

Don’t worry, be-tachon.

This Month I Will:

Calm down when I’m waiting in line. My nerves will not make the line go any faster.

Make a phone call one time only. If the person doesn’t answer, I will wait a while before trying again. I’ll reach them when Hashem decides the time is right.

Be less rushed when leaving the house. Hashem can ensure that the extra few minutes will not make me late.

Mentally “let go” when I notice myself worrying about finishing a project. Hashem is taking care of it.

Trust or Laziness?

Ever wonder if having bitachon is an excuse for being lazy? Maybe relying on Hashem is just a lack of responsibility? There are ways to keep ourselves in check:


  1. Recognize the difference between what you can do and what you can’t do. You can: be organized, work efficiently, follow the halachically correct path. You can’t: change a situation by worrying, make someone else work faster, undo a sent email.
  2. Know yourself. Some naturally take a back seat or work slowly, while others prefer to be constantly moving and in control (I’m the second type). If laziness is getting in the way for you in general, then maybe it’s not the time to work on bitachon by “letting go” — you need to find a different area of avodah.
  3. Consult with an outsider. A mentor, friend, or rav can help you figure out if you’re being too lax.
  4. You can’t have bitachon on someone else’s account. When it comes to others, it’s not the time to say “Hashem will take care of it.” Be on time and make the calls. Unless your hands are tied, if you’re in a position to help, your job is to be the best shaliach you can be.
  5. It’s enough to be asking the question. Sometimes it’s not about a clear right versus wrong, but rather that you are truly trying to uncover what ratzon Hashem is for you at that moment. What’s most important is that you are not doing things on autopilot, but rather in a calculated and deliberate way that considers how your decision will affect you, your middos, and those around you.

Mindel Kassorla has been advising students — both in Eretz Yisrael and beyond their seminary year — for over a decade. She lives with her husband and children in Jerusalem.

Are you taking this journey with us? We’d love to hear about your experiences at familyfirst@mishpacha.com

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 717)

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