Both my older sister and I are single and waiting to get married. I find myself anxious and worried all the time. I want/need to have bitachon in order to get me through this nisayon.
My question is: What does bitachon mean in regards to shidduchim?
To be completely honest, I consider myself wholly unworthy, unequipped, and unqualified to answer this question. Furthermore, the pathway to bitachon, which at its core is both an intellectual and emotional connection to the Borei Olam, tends to vary from person to person. The set of notes which reverberate deeply, clearly, and piercingly for one person, and have the power to cultivate within that individual a profoundly wholehearted conviction that it is only the Yad Hashem which guides every feature of their existence, may ultimately ring hollow for someone else. Each and every one of us has their own unique internal conduit to attaining such lofty levels, and it strikes me as foolish and arrogant on my part to claim or conceive that that which rings true for me will resonate as impactfully for anyone else.
Nevertheless, given the exceptional importance of the question presented, and the authenticity with which it was asked, I feel it only right to share a thought that came to mind following some reflection upon the topic, and hope that it will prove to be meaningful to the readership of the column. Anecdotally, I must also express my gratitude for having been prompted to dedicate some time in contemplation of a theme that every Jew ought to devote consistent energy towards for the sake of their sustained personal growth.
When evaluating and classifying the means to achieve any middah tovah, it is equally critical to categorize that which stands in the way of its fulfillment: the mafsidei hammidah, as termed by the Ramchal, zecher tzadik v’kadosh livracha. And it seems to me that the antithesis of bitachon in Hashem in any area of life can be found in the development and persistence of bitachon in oneself, and in the erroneous supposition that the capacity to accomplish any goal depends solely, primarily, or even partially, on our own handiwork. For as long as one’s trust resides in their own deeds, they are precluding themselves from the ability to genuinely trust in Hashem, as the two belief systems are mutually exclusive by nature.
And yet, myriad divrei Chazal and writings of gedolei doros incontrovertibly instruct us to refrain from sitting around and waiting for the shefa brocha to descend from Shamayim. We are exhorted to exert regular and proper hishtadlus, and are told that the key to receiving our Creator’s bounty is, in fact, rooted to no small extent in our own efforts and endeavors.
Accordingly, it appears to me that the task then lies in striking a fitting balance between appreciating the fundamentals of hishtadlus and recognizing its necessity and immense value, while consciously refraining from overestimating its place in the grander scheme, or erroneously deeming it to be the direct determinant of our outcomes in any realm. We do and we do and we do, because we must, but it is always and only the Yotzer Kol that delivers. And even when that highly anticipated package arrives, we may never presume to possess any knowledge of the specifics of its route. To retroactively and definitively connect or correlate any act of hishtadlus with a subsequent bestowal is to erroneously attribute G-dlike qualities to humankind. Rabos machashavos b’lev ish, va’atzas Hashem hee sakum.
In the vast universe of shidduchim, there is a great deal of work to be done. Preparing and updating one’s résumé; identifying which shadchanim to reach out to; emailing and texting shadchanim to set up meetings; going to the meetings; following up with reminders; attending events; joining databases; preparing and traveling for dates; spending money on any number of shidduch-related purchases; going out on the date; debriefing after the date with the shadchan, one’s parents, and any other confidants or advisors one turns to for guidance; and then staring all over again if the shidduch does not culminate in an engagement.
The to-do list is long and plentiful, and if one gets lost in the minutiae of it all, it does not take much to unwittingly advance a belief that when things are looking up it is to their credit, and when things are going poorly, it is utterly their own fault. And it is at that critical juncture that one’s bitachon may be at significant risk. If one becomes accustomed to ascribing the products of their efforts to their own hard work, Hashem’s presence may slowly and wrongfully begin to seem either superfluous or absent. It is as if to say, inasmuch as this undertaking falls squarely on my shoulders, I can only rely on my aptitude to engineer its completion. And when that is the case, one’s bitachon in Hashem can fast become diminished or completely lost, chas v’shalom.
One must be able to see the full collection of their labor as absolutely vital, and at the same time, discern that their hishtadlus exists simply to satisfy an obligation prescribed by the ratzon haTorah. It is merely the creation of a vessel to be filled, and a measuring stick by which one’s dedication to a given charge can be assessed on High. However, any and all upshots, pleasant or disagreeable, emanate only from HaKadosh Boruch Hu. Thus, through the vehicle of viewing hishtadlus as nothing more than compulsory involvement in one’s own life, and reserving every ounce of faith regarding results exclusively for the Almighty, perhaps one’s bitachon in Hashem will not only remain intact, but even steadily increase, despite the harshest of life’s challenges.
May the Adon Uzeinu fortify us all with a sincere and steadfast stance that it is only He who orchestrates each facet of our lives; at all moments, under any circumstances, and in every place.