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What Is Bitachon?

What Is Bitachon?

Real Confidence

(Sephardi: bē-tā-ḥon Ashkenazi: bi-TÄ-khon) בטחון root: בטח
Related words: Secure, Confident, Promise

What it is

Generally translated as “trust,” bitachon is a powerful sense of optimism and confidence based not on reason or experience, but on emunah. You know that “G‑d is good and He’s the only one in charge,” and therefore you have no fears or frets.

Like emunah, bitachon is super-rational. The person who holds such an attitude will always be able to point out the positive side of life’s experiences, but it’s obvious that his or her bitachon is not based upon these. It is not an attitude based on experience, but one that creates experience. It says, “Things will be good because I believe they are good.”

On the other hand, bitachon is not a strategy to manipulate the universe. Your belief does not create good—the good in which you are so confident is already the underlying reality. Your belief only provides the means by which that reality can surface. See Is the Law of Attraction Jewish? for more on this point.

There are varying degrees of bitachon, according to a person’s degree of emunah. One person may have emunah that although things right now are not good, they are all for the good (eventually). A higher, yet more enlightened emunah is that everything right now is good—even when it superficially looks terrible. See When Bad Is Good for the stories of Rabbi Akiva and Nachum Ish Gamzu that illustrate how these two attitudes can play out in the resultant bitachon.

When it’s needed

Unlike emunah, bitachon does not live inside a person in a uniform state. Most of the time it’s fine sitting in the background: You go about your business the best you can, with perfect faith that “G‑d will bless you in whatever you do,” and therefore it’s not your own smarts or hard work that will provide success, but “G‑d’s blessing is what makes a man rich.”

But then, situations arise from time to time when you can’t see any natural means by which you can get out of this. At that point, bitachon needs to wake up and step up to bat. Rather than saying, “Woe is me! Who can help me?” you say, “My help is from G‑d, who makes heaven and earth—and therefore can do whatever He wants with them.”

What it does

Bitachon carries with it a profound, albeit subliminal cosmology: Even a simple Jew believes that G‑d can provide for our needs despite all odds—even contravening the natural order—yet without breaking a single law of nature. Healing will come through a good doctor, profit will come through better clientele—yet the doctor and the clientele are only channels for the real healing and profit straight from G‑d’s blessing. In other words, we find in bitachon a G‑d beyond nature, within nature.

Which explains why when a Jew is in trouble, he or she first takes care of spiritual matters—such as checking tefillin and mezuzahs, pledging charity or some other mitzvah, spending more time in Torah study—before dealing with the material urgency at hand. First get the blessings in place, then deal with the channels through which they will come.

How to get it

For any person, bitachon can be a source of tranquility and happiness through the vicissitudes of life. Many read the story of the manna (Exodus 16) every day to strengthen their bitachon. Reading and telling stories of others who lived on bitachon also helps. But nothing helps more than meditating deeply upon the deep relationship we each have with the Source of All Good, and putting that conviction to work for you whenever necessary.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Discussion (42)
October 26, 2016
This article has just given me an "Aha" moment..😃's so profound that it is so simple, yet it can only be got by AWE not by analysis. Thank you Rabbi.
October 25, 2016
My bitachon says, Things are hard, but for good. Living is like being the challah dough: Nashim knead it, fold it, beat it, roll it. Life hurts, but H" (bH) is making something wonderful. Must endure until. "To survive is to suffer. To suffer is to survive."
Emma, on the other hand, has bitachon that sees sunshine in every storm of life. "It's going to be okay. Just have faith. Everything's fine."
Yochanan bY
September 20, 2016
You write, "Things will be good because I believe they are good."

Actually, the above statement would seem to be a contradiction. If everything is good, then there is no place for bitochon. (See Lekutei Sichos volume three page 883.)

May you and yours be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.
Yoseph Janowski
Thornhill, Canada
September 16, 2016
Thank you for your articles, which encourage thought and discussion.

I think that there are references in that regarding one's livelihood, we trust that G-d will provide. So this is more than just trusting that everything is good. It is trusting that G-d will give us our livelihood.

Thank you again.
Yoseph Janowski
Thornhill, Canada
July 19, 2016
Oh that makes more sense. Seems like I simply misread the phrasing.

Thank you for clarifying.
July 19, 2016
For Anonymous in NY
You answered your own question when you wrote, "if someone has complete Bitachon, Hashem will give them revealed good."

That implies that even now, everything is truly good—just that the good is not revealed good. Our trust in G-d is what allows it to become revealed good.

Which is just what I wrote.
Tzvi Freeman
July 18, 2016
This statement troubled me.
"On the other hand, bitachon is not a strategy to manipulate the universe. Your belief does not create good—the good in which you are so confident is already the underlying reality."

The Rebbe clearly explained in a sicha - Chelek 36 - first Shemos sicha - that if someone has complete Bitachon, Hashem will give them revealed good.

To quote:
"The bitachon itself is what brings and causes the salvation of Hashem, and from the positive we can learn out the negative: that if the person is not saved from his troubles then this is because there was a lack in his bitachon."
November 12, 2015
"Bitachon" the word has been in my mind lately, along with some other, I didn't know the actual meaning or how to spell it. I heard it in the radio (kol Israel), as I'm trying to learn Hebrew, I listen to general stuff to catch some words.

Thanks for the article, it's a meaningful word indeed.
Alan Verver y Vargas Fernandez
June 21, 2015
Something struck me while reading Exodus 17:, even reading the plain text in English. The text says "Gather ye of it every man according to his eating; an omer a head...'"

What really struck me as strange is that "gather according to your needs" and simultaneously "gather an omer (a specific weight)" are two entirely different ways of gathering. A specific amount (like a half a pound) might not be enough for one person (example, if they can eat a whole 16oz steak with trimmings) but it might be too much for another.

But in these verses, no matter how much was gathered, it was still an omer. And it was still enough no matter who ate what amount.

The idea here is not only the basic provision, but also that G-d has control over to play around with what exactly a quantity is...because the verses go back and forth between "enough for all" and "a specific amount". For G-d there is no difference and no strict scientific mass/quantity laws to be followed.

Does that sound right???
May 13, 2015
Thanks so much for this! Please keep me in your prayers as I am learning. Blessings & Shalom
Heather Wolf
The landscape of classic Jewish thought is painted with a finite set of themes and motifs...
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