The Torah portion of Beshallach recounts the story of the heavenly food that nurtured the Jewish people in the desert for 40 years, until they arrived at the border of Canaan.

The Tur states1 that it is beneficial to recite the passage about the manna daily. The salutary effect of this repetition is twofold:

a) It strengthens belief2 in G‑d, helping man realize that all his sustenance derives from Providence. This was clearly evident with the manna: human activity had absolutely no effect on the amount G‑d deemed fit to provide each individual — “the one who had taken more did not have any extra, and the one who had taken less did not have too little.”3

b) It helps strengthen man’s trust4 in G‑d. Not only is a person prompted to recognize that his subsistence derives from G‑d, but equally important, man comes to rely on G‑d, trusting that He will provide. The daily collection of manna amply developed this aspect of trust, for G‑d provided it on a constant and ongoing basis. Thus Jews were able to become aware of the fact that every living thing relies completely on G‑d for its food.

Although belief in G‑d and trust in Him seem to be similar, they are two different traits, each possessing qualities that the other lacks. What are the major differences between these two attributes?

Belief is a constant — it is the nature of the Divine soul to express an innate belief in G‑d. For example, the absolute confidence that one’s sustenance will be provided by G‑d is found within every believer at all times; it makes no sense to say a man believes this only while actually earning his livelihood.

But while belief is unceasing, it is peripheral, and does not necessarily translate into action. Thus the Gemara5 informs us that it is possible for a thief to pray that his thievery will be successful; the purity of his faith is not affected by the impurity of his deeds.

In contrast, man’s trust in G‑d is aroused only in times of need.6 Yet although man’s trust is not in the same constant state of revelation as is his belief, when trust is aroused it penetrates every fiber of his being.

This will be better understood by offering a more acute example:

When a person finds himself — Heaven forfend — in a life-threatening situation and sees no way of surviving by natural means, he will not despair, for he trusts that G‑d will help him, since He is the Master of nature and able to change it at will.7

The ability to put one’s trust in G‑d, to be confident that He will rescue one from extreme difficulties — “natural” physical reality notwithstanding — indicates that such trust completely permeates a person.

Moreover, this very trust serves as the vessel that draws down Divine assistance and blessing:

When a Jew displays absolute trust in G‑d and is confident that G‑d will release him from his dire straits — although this seems to fly in the face of reason — this causes G‑d to act toward this individual in a like manner; G‑d helps that person by freeing him in a supernatural manner.

This also explains how it is possible for man to possess such absolute trust in G‑d: Since we know that G‑d responds to man measure for measure,8 we are able to feel certain9 that by placing our implicit trust in G‑d, He will surely help us in our time of need.

Based on Likkutei Sichos XXVI, pp. 95-97.