Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anachnu Ma'aminim Bnei Ma'aminim (MBD)

יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּטַח בַּה', עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא
אַנַחְנוּ מַאַמִינִים בְּנֵי מַאַמִינִים, וְאֵין לָנוּ עַל מִי לְהִשָׁעֵן, אֶלָא עַל אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם


"Israel, trust in Hashem; their help and their shield is He!" (Tehillim 115:9)
"We are believers, children of believers, and we have none (else) to rely on but on our father in heaven." (Medrash Tanchuma)


The Beis HaLevi quotes a Medrash Rabbah in Miketz that says:"Fortunate is the man who places trust in Hashem(Tehillim 3). This is Yoseph. He wouldn't turn to man for help-for we see, because Yoseph asked the sar hamashkim to put in a good word for him to Paroh, he got 2 years added on to his sentence."
There is an obvious contradiction in the Medrash! First it says that Yoseph was a huge ba'al Bitachon, one of the greatest ever. Then it says how he relied on the sar hamashkim to help him out! Whats the deal??
The Beis HaLevi (Parshas Miketz) explains Bitachon as follows: Everyone's level of hishtadlus (effort) that they are required to put in is based on their level of Bitachon baHashem. Someone with a very high level of Bitachon; someone who really understands and accepts that EVERYTHING is from Hakodosh Baruch Hu, needs to put in less effort than someone with a lower level of Bitachon. That being the case, if someone puts in more effort than is required of them, then they are in the wrong. They are basically saying that what they get is solely based in their efforts alone. And, as stated in the Beis HaLevi, they will be punished; now they will NEED to work harder in order to get what they need.
So now the Medrash makes sense. Because Yoseph was such a ba'al bitachon, that's precisely why he was punished with 2 extra years in prison! For Yoseph to ask the sar hamashkim for a little help was too much hishtadlus since he was on such a high level of Bitachon! For people on a lower level of Bitachon it would make sense for them to ask for this small request to the sar hamashkim. But for Yoseph Hatzaddik, it was too much hishtadlus. That's the level of Bitachon that Yoseph was on. (As heard from Rav Moshe Bamberger, Mashgiach Ruchani of Beis Medrash L'Talmud in Queens)

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

This is also based on the Gemara in Shabbos 79a

Anonymous said...

Just some other explanations of that מדרש:
1) The חזון איש (אמונה ובטחון ב:ו) writes that there is a חיוב of השתדלות because we can’t rely on a miracle. The problem with what יוסף did was that his act of השתדלות was in fact not an act of השתדלות, but an act of desperation. Logically speaking, asking the Egyptian to save him was not going to work. השתדלות means doing something that is likely to be effective. Doing desperate השתדלות is not השתדלות, it is אסור.
2) Rav Dessler (מכתב מאליהו ח״ד עמ׳ 27-29) explains that a person has to know and be conscious of a basic principle of בטחון, that any exertion or effort that is not motivated by spiritual aspirations - an exertion or effort that is motivated by materialistic aspirations - clashes with אמונה. There is a need for a person to do השתדלות, although this balance is very tricky. יוסף was not punished with 2 extra years in prison because he asked the butler to help him, but as רש״י says, ״מפני שתלה בו יוסף בטחונו לזכרו״, he “pegged his hopes” on him. יוסף forgot that only the רצון ה׳ directs the world and the pathways of a person.
3) One time Reb Chaim Soloveitchik asked Rav Shimon Shkop what would have happened had יוסף only said זכרתני and not also הזכרתני? Would יוסף have been punished? The מדרש makes it seem as though יוסף was punished with 2 years in jail by saying these 2 words. Would he have been punished at all had he only said זכרתני? Rav Shimon answered, had יוסף only said זכרתני, he would have been punished with 1 year in jail. Reb Chaim responded, that had יוסף only said זכרתני, he would not have been punished at all because he had a חיוב to do some השתדלות. Only because he said both זכרתני and הזכרתני was he punished. The fact that he also said הזכרתני shows that when יוסף said זכרתני, it wasn’t that he was doing השתדלות. Once he told the שר המשקים to remember him a 2nd time, we see that יוסף thought that asking the שר המשקים to remember him was going to be what would save him. This was his חטא, He thought that telling the שר המשקים to remember him was going to save him, not הקב״ה.