The second volume in a series based on the work of Rabbi Yechiel Perrin, “Faith Over Fear, A Path to Bitachon,” sheds light on the fundamentals of becoming a ba’al bitachon, as elucidated by the Alter of Novaradok.
Written by Rabbi Yehuda Keilson, a talmid of Rabbi Perr, in Rabbi Perr’s signature incisive style, “Faith Over Fear” is a work whose words will penetrate deep into the mind, heart, and soul of every G-d fearing Jew. Bitachon is, after all, a powerful part of our Jewish being, a trust and optimism built on emunah.
Rabbi Perr is the rosh yeshivah of Yeshiva Derech Ayson of Far Rockaway, a position he has held for close to half a century. He is a talmid of Hagaon Harav Aharon Kotler zt”l as well as the son in-law of Hagaon Harav Yehuda Leib Nekritz zt”l , and grandson of Hagaon Harav Avraham Yaffen zt”l, who was the son in-law of the Alter of Novaradok zt”l. Rabbi Perr spent decades imbibing, studying, and teaching the works and legacy of the Alter and his talmidim.
Rabbi Perr writes that Rav Yosef Hurwitz, the Alter of Novaradok, “noticed something about bitachon which he described with a Yiddish colloquialism. In our idiom, the colloquialism would be something akin to ‘bitachon is a bowl of whipped cream.’ The idea expressed so colorfully here by the Alter is that most people who learn about bitachon cannot resist “sticking a finger in and tasting a little. …
“However, biitachon is much more than that. Bitachon is a great mitzvah. Bitachon is a closeness with He Who runs the world and our personal lives.”
Rabbi Keilson teaches us that “the Alter of Novaradok famously formulated a considered and extensive approach to bitachon. His identity was bound up so intensely with bitachon that the Alter would append to his signature the letters beis — beis, which stood for ba’al bitachon. Nevertheless, the Alter’s vast storehouse of insight on this topic is largely unexplored, particularly in the English language. We seek to fill this lacuna.
“Bitachon is mysterious and elusive. We hear about it all the time and are often urged to embrace it, yet we still have difficulty articulating, even for ourselves, what it really is. Is it an obligation or merely a handy panacea? What are its parameters?
“The rosh yeshivah teaches that bitachon is the most basic embodiment of the religious life. It describes the leap from abstractly believing in G-d, speaking of and serving Him, to holding His Hand in life.Bitachon is the nexus of the mortal and the Divine, where man choose to tear aside the mirage and make room for G-d to be the real actor in His world.”