Bechukotai – Who to Trust
The Haftarah, Yirmiyahu 16, discusses among other topics the difference between a man who trusts in men and those who trust in G-d.
This is what G-d says cursed is a man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, and G-d he has removed from his heart. He will be like a Juniper in the desert and he will not seee even when goodness comes, he lives in the desolate desert, a salty land without inhabitance.
The man who trusts in man is compared to a Juniper which is a very sorry looking plant. It has very few leaves and is not brightly colored. Even when it rains this plant does not thrive. Why should this be?
A person who only trusts in man can be hopeless. The men upon who he relies may change their mind, get sick, die, forget or out right lie.
Although he may not realize it he has taken G-d out of his life and his heart. When so consumed by the assistance that others “hope” to give him he forgets about G-d. The rat race in modern careers can lead people who are Torah observant to totally forget about G-d.
A person who trust in man and forgets about G-d can be even worse than a Pagan Idoloter who performs human sacrifice.
Chovot Halevavot, Duties of the Hearts, which was written Almost 1000 years ago says that one who relies on men instead of G-d, being a hypocrate, is worse than Pagan idoloters. Why? because an Idoloter has a limited number of G-d’s. he relies on each for something else.
One who relies on men has an inumerable amount of G-d’s and each person can be a savior. As even the most dedicated Prime Minister or President is no more than a lieing politician if you rely on them you will be gravely disapointed. Of course the problem is compounded if you are the lieing politician who relies on the wishy washy oppinions of the masses. One’s hopes and desires can dry up like the poor juniper.
As opposed to this the Prophet Yirmiyahu tells us about the person who trusts in G-d:
Blessed is a man who trusts in G-d and has G-d as his protection. He will be like a tree by the water on Yubal He will stretch out his roots, He will not fear when heat comes and its leaves will flourish, during a drought it will not worry, and it will not cease making fruit.
G-d created the universe and runs it. He is constantly there. Those who trust in G-d have the strength to stand up against injustice. They have the strength to stand up, against all odds for the Truth which is found in the Torah. He will flourish even in a place which is void of Torah.
But how do you know who trusts G-d and who trusts in men?
The Prophet continues:
The heart is twisted more than anything and very ill, Who can know? I am G-d who looks into the heart and tests the Kidneys and I give to a man like his ways and the fruit of actions
No matter how religious a man looks you can never really know what is in his heart. Often a person may seem to be a simple, unknowledgable person but in reality he might be very righteous. Only G-d knows what is inside a man. You can never know what another is really thinking.
I recently read another very nice explanation on these final Pesukim. “The Heart is ill… who can know?” can refer to what is in your own heart. Sometimes you do not even know what is buried inside of yourself. Even if you do not know G-d does know what is in your heart.