AVRAHAM’S UNIVERSAL MESSAGE: BITACHON IS NOT BINARY
Bitachon Bytes, VaYeira
By Rabbi Zalman Goldberg
Following the pact made with Avimelech, the Torah relates that Avraham Avinu planted an Eshel, “and he proclaimed in the name of Hashem, kel olam – ,א-ל עולם G-d of the universe.” Expounding on this verse, Chassidus explains that the objective of Avraham Avinu proclaiming kel olam was not just to educate humanity that Hashem is the king of the world, (without which people may think that Hashem doesn’t exist חייו); his intention was also to impress upon his audience that Hashem is one with the world1.
In other words, even those who believed that Hashem is in charge of the world may still have thought that He is separate from it, as in kel Ha-olam. The ‘ה’ signifies that there is a separation between the kel and the olam. When the same statement is made without a Hey, just kel olam, it shows that regarding Hashem’s rule over the world He is one with it and not separate.
The significance of this will be better understood by studying the explanation of the Alter Rebbe in Likkutei Torah2. The statement that Hashem is one with the world can be understood in two ways: 1. that we are part of Hashem’s reality, and 2. That Hashem is part of our reality. The latter understanding is heretical, as it would anthropomorphize Hashem ch”v. Of course Hashem is omnipresent, but ch”v to interpret that to mean that Hashem is a corporal being.
The true meaning of kel olam, says the Alter Rebbe, is that the world is but a ray of Hashem3, so to speak. Hashem is the source of all realms and this world is only an emanation from the source. When we view this world as a glimmer emanating from its source which is Hashem, we give a spiritual touch to the existence of this world. For it is not just a physical world as we see it; the true reality is that the world is a ray of G-dliness that became material through tzimtzumim. All this needs to be internalized, and not just understood intellectually
This was the message that Avraham Avinu was imparting to his guests5. When bentching Hashem we have to know that 1. Hashem is in charge of the world and He gives us everything we have, and 2. that this Hashem is one with the world in the sense that the world is part of Hashem’s reality.
The Bitachon message is that a person can decide to rely on Hashem because He is the master of the world. But depending on how he views Hashem will greatly impact his Bitachon. If one hasn’t internalized that Hashem is one with the world, there will be a figurative gap in his Bitachon, in which case the Bitachon is incomplete. Only when one truly believes and feels that “kel olam,” that the world is no more than a part of G-dliness, will his Bitachon be real and effective.
Rabbi Zalman Goldberg is a well sought after speaker and lecturer on Chassidic thought. His writings and recordings on the topic of Bitachon can be accessed at http://www.gotbitachon.com.
1) לקו״ש חלק א ע 47.
2) דה תחת אשר, בפרשת כי תבוא.
3) עיין גם אגרת הקודש סי’ יא.
4) עיין קונט התפילה בארוכה.
עיין לקוש חג ע 769, שזהו ענין של אמונה.