Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How about Kibud Av?

Yitz asked an incisive question on my latest post: "What Will I Eat Tomorrow?"

"I have a lot of difficulty with the rationale of the punch line.

if you are really a baal bitachon, it's on HaShem's cheshbon...

isn't that the whole point?

if there is a cheshbon involved, why was his father not, not being a 'baal bitachon' on the chesbon of the other people less fortunate than himself?

how is he making a point that isn't challenging his father's point? as I assume he must be, out of kibud av."
My reply: "The answer is that bitachon is not so simple. Either you are achieving the level required or not, but it is exceedingly easy to fool yourself and immagine you are on the level when you are really not there at all. In this spirit Rav Nosson of Breslov said to his son, "I have enough bitachon for myself and my family but not for yours as well. You must work on your own bitachon."
Similarly, the Alter of Novardok would borrow money even when he didn't have any observable way to return it. When asked how he could do so, he explained that he was relying on bitachon. A thoughful man who was in debt asked him if he was also permitted to borrow money on his "bitachon account." The Alter's reply is very illuminating: "Only if you would lend that kind of money to someone who had absolutely no observable way to repay..."
The same is true regarding purchasing the needs of Shabbos with money one doesn't have (amd doesn't forsee is coming.) Although the gemara states that purchases for Shabbos etc. aren't deducted from the money designated for a person on Rosh Hashannah, The Chazon Ish and others explain that this is only true of someone who has bitachon...
The Birsker Rav's son didn't wish to certainly take away from his father's food and doubtfully bring in more for himself as a result of his bitachon (especially since it was a hard time.)
The question of why the Brisker Rav didnt act that way is not valid since different tzaddikim often take different paths. The Gemara even records that Shamai would save any unusual delicacies he encountered during the week for use on Shabbos while Hillel relied on bitachon...
His father wished to guide his son to work more on bitachon but the son had a different derech. One need not listen to his parent if he is drawn to a different path in Avodas Hashem just like he need not listen if his father insists that he learns in one yeshiva and he feels he will not do as well there as in another that his father doesn't like as much. (Interestingly, the Chazon Ish and Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach both said this regarding children drawn to Breslov whose parents objected.)
Thank you for your question. This is a very broad topic and there is much more to say about it but the above should suffice for now.

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