The soul-trait of “trust”1 actually doesn’t just mean trust, it means “trust in God.” Including God in the definition may offer you some help, or it may bring on an additional challenge, depending on the role faith plays in your life. Growing in bitachon (trust) is a very different proposition for a person who already has a strong relationship to the divine as opposed to someone who has no active sense of Who /What he or she is being asked to trust.
Morinis, Alan. Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar (pp. 209-210). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
(1) For the leader. A psalm of David. (2) How long, YHWH; will You ignore me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (3) How long will I have cares on my mind, grief in my heart all day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? (4) Look at me, answer me,YHWH, my God! Restore the luster to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; (5) lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” my foes exult when I totter. (6) But I trust in Your love, my heart will exult in Your deliverance. I will sing to the YHWH, for God has been good to me.
שער התשיעי - שער השמחה
מי שמאמין באלקים בלב שלם, ובוטח בו בביטחון חזק – יביא אותו הביטחון שלא יפחד מעולם מדבר רע, ולא יעבוד לאדם זולתו להתרצות אליו, ולא יקווה לאיש, ולא יסכים עמהם בדבר שהוא כנגד עבודת הבורא יתברך; ולא יפחידוהו ענייניהם, ולא יחת ממחלוקתם. ואם יוכיח אותם – לא יזהר בכבודם, ואם יכלימוהו – לא יבוש מהם, ולא יְיַפה להם השקר, כמו שאמר הנביא (ישעיהו נ ז): "ואדושם אלקים יעזר לי, על כן לא נכלמתי, על כן שמתי פני כחלמיש, ואדע כי לא אבוש"
Orchot Tzadikim Chapter 9:29
He who believes in God with a perfect heart and trusts in Him with a strong trust, his trust will bring him to the point where he will never fear man or evil circumstance and he will never serve a man in order to please him and he will never place his hope in man, and he will never agree with people in a matter that is contrary to the Service of the Creator, may He be Blessed, and none of their affairs will frighten him and he will not fear their quarrels and if he rebukes them will not worry about their pride and if he finds it necessary to shame them he will not be shy before them, and he will not make their falsehood beautiful or acceptable as the Prophet said : "For the Lord God will help me, therefore, am I not confounded, therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed" (Is. 50:7).
The Maggid of Dubno told the following parable: A poor man with a heavy bundle on his shoulders was walking along the highway. A rich man with a fancy carriage came by and generously offered him a ride. The poor man gladly accepted the offer. You can imagine the surprise of the wealthy man when he glanced at his passenger and noticed that he was still carrying the giant load on his shoulders. He called out to him, “My good man, what in the world are you doing? Why don’t you put your sack on the floor?” The humble traveler replied, “My dear sir you have been kind enough to me already. Your carriage has to bear the weight of my body even now. How can I presume to burden you with my bundle too?” At this point the host laughed heartily and lectured his guest, “Silly man, why strain your back? Don’t you see that all is the same for me whether you hold your parcel on your shoulder or whether you place it beside you? It’s still in the carriage and whatever you do the carriage is bearing its weight. You might as well let your burden down.”
We all acknowledge that ultimately our parnasah, our material success or lack thereof, is not dependent on us. So why, asks the Dubner Maggid, do we spend so much time fretting over it? Why do we vainly attempt to carry the psychological burden of making a living upon our shoulders, if in the end it’s really not up to us? Throw down your burden – and let Hashem, Who carries us and all our needs, do His job. This is precisely what David HaMelech says in Tehilim (Psalms 55:23), יהבך' ה על השלך Throw your ‘baggage’ upon Hashem, יכלכלך והוא ,and He will sustain you.”
(5) Thus said the Eternal: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who makes mere flesh his strength, and turns his thoughts from the Eternal. (6) He shall be like a bush in the desert, which does not sense the coming of good: it is set in the scorched places of the wilderness, in a barren land without inhabitant. (7) Blessed is the one who trusts in the Eternal, whose trust is the Eternal alone. (8) He shall be like a tree planted by waters, sending forth its roots by a stream: it does not sense the coming of heat, its leaves are ever fresh; it has no care in a year of drought, it does not cease to yield fruit.
(א) אך מהות הבטחון היא מנוחת נפש הבוטח ושיהיה לבו סמוך על מי שבטח עליו שיעשה הטוב והנכון לו בענין אשר יבטח עליו כפי יכלתו ודעתו במה שמפיק טובתו.
(ב) אבל העקר אשר בעבורו יהיה הבטחון מן הבוטח ואם יפקד לא ימצא הבטחון הוא שיהיה לבו בטוח במי שיבטח בו שיקים מה שאמר ויעשה מה שערב ויחשב עליו הטוב במה שלא התנה לו ולא ערב עשוהו שיעשהו נדבה וחסד.
Trust is peace of mind of the one who trusts. That one relies in his heart that the one he trusts in will do what is good and proper for him on the matter he has trusted him with, according to his ability and his understanding of what will further his good. But the main factor, which leads one to trust in the one trusted, and without which trust cannot exist, is for one's heart to be confident that the one trusted will keep his word and will do what he pledged, and that he will also think to do what is good for him even on what he did not pledge out of pure generosity and kindness.
In a small town, a man once opened a small grocery store directly across the street from another grocery. As soon as the old grocer saw the sign in the window announcing the opening, he went across the street and met the new merchant. He shook hands and welcomed him warmly, then sat down and taught him all the tricks of the trade—where to buy, how to buy, how to get good value. When he was asked why he had been so nice to a future competitor, the grocer answered with a well-known Talmudic saying: “All the sustenance of a person is determined for him from New Year to New Year. Only HaShem can take it away.” In other words, there’s nothing to worry about. What will be will be.
Morinis, Alan. Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar (p. 216). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
The Chafetz Chaim told a story to make the point that we have to be careful about how we interpret the signs we see around us. A man was once visiting a small town. As it was Shabbat morning, he went to the local synagogue, where everything was just as you might expect, until unusual things started happening. There were well-dressed, obviously prosperous people seated near the front, but all the honors for the Torah reading were given to scruffy men who stood clustered at the back of the room. When it came time for the rabbi to say a few words of wisdom, all he spoke about was the weather. After the prayers were finished, lovely food was spread on the table and nobody ate. The man was flummoxed by all these incomprehensible goings-on. What kind of place was this? Was everyone crazy? Finally, he pulled aside one of the locals and asked, “What’s going on here? The men who got the Torah honors, the rabbi’s talk, the uneaten food . . . nothing makes any sense!” The man explained, “Those scruffy-looking men had been unjustly imprisoned and the community worked long and hard to ransom them to freedom. Isn’t it wonderful that they are now free to come to bless the Torah? The rabbi spoke only about the weather because there has been an unusual drought this season and the farmers have nothing on their minds but their crops, and the rabbi knew and cared for their concerns. Why didn’t anyone eat? One Shabbos every month the community prepares its usual lunch but instead of eating it, the food is donated to the local home for the elderly. I can see how it might have looked to you,” the local man told the guest, “but when you can see only part of a picture, it’s easy to put together the wrong impression of what is going on.” This is a parable for our own lives. Since at every moment you can see only part of the situation, then you can’t possibly know what is really going on. That will be revealed only in the fullness of time. In the meantime, though, your task is to trust. At times trusting can be an enormous challenge, when the burden of life itself is enormous. Try to put yourself in this student’s shoes, if you can, and appreciate how far she got in processing her unimaginably difficult situation, emerging still to trust: Are you saying I should take the rape of my daughter by her father as “God’s will”? Having moved through this particular abyss, I can no longer abide simple poetic words that tell me the past is God’s will. I have arrived at a place where I trust that no matter what mess mankind makes, no matter what the devastation, God can bring good and right from it. I do not believe it was ever in God’s plan for my child to be raped, or for the other one hundred atrocities I could name off the top of my head. Our free will to ignore God at any moment makes this earth. And earth is hard. However, I can now trust that God will be with me as I walk through my particular fires and will be there to provide the ways and means of healing.
Morinis, Alan. Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar (pp. 214-215). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.