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Hallel: Third Paragraph: Trusters

Psalm 115: Part One: Third Paragraph: Trusters
(This paragraph is not recited on the final days of Passover or on Rosh Chodesh)
“Not we, God, not we, but Your Name deserves honor for Your kindness, Your truth. How can the pagans ask, “Where is their God?” Now our God in the heavens did just what He desired. Their silver and gold statues are the work of human hands. They have mouths but do not speak, they have eyes but do not see, they have ears but do not hear, they have noses but do not smell. Hand – but do not feel. Legs – but do not walk. They do not even groan. Their makers will become like them, all who trust in them.
Israel: Trust in God! Their Help and Protection!
House of Aaron: Trust in God! Their Help and Protection!
Those who fear God: Trust in God! Their Help and Protection!”

Many people have difficulty trusting God, more trust too easily, and yet more trust too easily: They have no idea what it means to trust God. I often hear people in crisis claim, “Everything will be OK. I have Bitachon – Trust – in God.” Do they really assume that because they have Bitachon that they will be saved? Do they believe that they will automatically be healed? What happens to all those people who have Bitachon and do not recover? What happens to all the families that have Bitachon and still lose their homes? Is their Bitachon shattered? Will they continue to have Bitachon?

It is interesting that, as in this paragraph, trust is never used as a noun. It is always a verb. One cannot have Bitachon: One can be a Boteiach – One who trusts. My father, of blessed memory, explained being a Boteiach as feeling that God’s Presence helps us deal with the crisis we faith. He often compared being a Boteiach to a child who wants a parent next to him when he is about to receive a needle: The needle is slightly less scary because the parent is there with them, but it will still sting just as much.

This paragraph is a lesson in how to become a one who trusts in God:  It begins with a verse cried out by people in impossible situations such as the Children of Israel stuck between the advancing Egyptian chariots and the sea and Shadrach, Meshach, and Azariah when they were about to be thrown into a furnace of fire by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. In all the Biblical stories in which people used this verse, they were ready to act. Israel was ready to march into the sea even before the water split. Joshua was prepared to face 31 Canaanite kings in battle. Mordechai and Esther planned their strategy for dealing with Haman. They were prepared to act despite impossible circumstances. They did not wait claiming that they had Bitachon. They accepted responsibility to move forward and expressed themselves as Trusters when they declared that they were not acting for their own glory, but for the glory of God’s kindness and truth.

One must be prepared to act in order to be a true Boteiach: A Truster is willing to accept responsibility. A Truster believes that he was created to act and assume responsibility. He understands that we exist in a relationship with the Creator, Who endowed us with Free Choice.
The Psalm compares these people with the pagans who are willing to trust in gold and silver images formed by their own hands. How can someone who formed an idol trust in the power of what he has made? The verses are reminding us how easily we can trick ourselves to trust in the impossible.

We do not trust in a physical image to save or heal us. We act with a sense that our actions will matter to the One, Who interacts with us with His Unlimited Kindness and Reliability.  We move forward with trust that our acceptance of responsibility will trigger God’s Omnipotence.

Each one of us has a unique relationship with God. Whether we are acting as one of Israel, or as a Cohen from the House of Aaron, or as one who sufficiently aware of God to be in awe of Him, we each can act as Trusters.

This psalm in actually a celebration of people who are willing to accept the responsibility to act based on our relationship with God.

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