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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 (35)
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
October 26, 2014
thank you !
your message was truly inspiring :)
Costa Rica
May 30, 2014
Faith, Jews and Muslims
I treasure an elucidation of the nature of faith gleaned from a source shared by a Muslim friend: "faith is understood not as 'blind faith' but rather as a firm conviction based on knowledge and belief." I find this perfectly compatible with the discussion here of bitachon.

How blessed is Israel to have a real grounds for firm confidence through all of life! B"H
Central America
April 24, 2014
I still have problems with the interpretations of these words. While most people will say that emunah means belief or faith, to me these are totally inappropriate definitions. Faith is something that can disappear; emunah does not. To most people, Belief is synonymous with religion while to me, it is like a dangerous chemical that can be found in all manner of bizarre ideas. Religious experience does not rely on belief. But it can engender or produce trust.

Bitachon, therefore, is not the same as believing in an idea. It is trust engendered by the element of experience of G-d. If there was no such thing as a Divine being or if our religion depended on our belief in this Being to continue, then the experiential component would be missing altogether. It would be only an idea with no testable or proven reality. The different reality that someone with emuna senses may well be measurable and deserves scientific consideration as a higher state of human conscious functioning.
Janet Caterina
April 20, 2014
This will become easier as I think and imagine it's reality. It was tough seeing terminal illness at a young age and no one said having a dying parent , it will all work out for the best. Sometimes you do have to be older to get it. But the wisest ppl will take this on whole heartedly and not wait to take a class at 35 or 50 yrs old and finally get it.
Happy At Last
Sweet Home Florida
March 12, 2014
Bitaxhon, the Engine that drives...
Wow! I really enjoyed reading this and finally get more clarification on what Bitachon is and its distinction from Emunah! After reading the article and many of the comments, it seems to me that we are all like drivers in our "life" vahicle and the Emunah works like the Fuel in our car, while Bitachon is like the high horsepower Engine that pushes our car forward! Would love your comment on this weather this makes sense. Thank you Rabbi for explaining this.
Payam L.
los angeles
December 8, 2013
What is Bitachon
Thank you for this great essay , it gave me more understanding as well as practical examples of when and how to apply Bitachon, which I am working on.
I will certainly be reading it over and over until I can internalize this great message.
November 21, 2013
Hey could you provide some sources for these ideas, I would be very grateful.
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