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The Chazon Ish wrote in the book Emunah U'Bitachon Chapter 2 that the definition of bitachon is NOT the mistaken belief that when faced with 2 possible outcomes one must believe that the better (or thought to be better) outcome will happen, rather it is to know that nothing happens by chance and that God is controlling and directing everything.

1- Does anyone define bitachon like this prior to the Chazon Ish?

2- Does anyone define bitachon the way the Chazon Ish says not to? (i.e. to believe that God will make everything work out).

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The Chazon Ish himself says that this is the common view among Chassidim. Indeed the Baal Shem Tov is well known to have defined it in the way the Chazon Ish says not to. It should be pointed out that the Chazon Ish's characterization is an oversimplification of the view.

In this article, R. Shlomo Brody discusses various sources brought by R. Daniel Stein. R. Stein argues that the opinion that the Chazon Ish argues with is found in many earlier sources (essentially both views are found in Rishonim). R. Brody argues that it starts with the Maharal (and therefore argues that it comes too late to be legitimate, thus justifying the Chazon Ish's categorical rejection), and all earlier readings of the Rishonim by R. Stein are incorrect.

Both seem to ignore the Chovas Halevavos (which is 11th Century) and the Kad HaKemach (from Rabbeinu Bechaya - early 14th century), brought by the Lubavitcher Rebbe here, which are also sources for the view that the Chazon Ish is rejecting.

The link to R. Stein's article isn't working for me, but my understanding is that he brings the Rishonim that would support the Chazon Ish. It is just that R. Brody doesn't name them, as they already agree with his point.

  • Hey! You didn't write up such a nice answer when I asked this. Im insulted:) My biggest issue with the Chazzon Ish approach is the fact that we don't find Nachum Ish Gamzu or Rabi Akiva praying for a good outcome. According to one girsa in the gemara, which the Maharal quotes, Nachum actually saw the dirt while still at the inn and went anyways. – user6591 Nov 24 '14 at 22:59
  • @user6591, I didn't understand it to be the same question, I thought you were more picking on the fine distinction between the two concepts, rather than directly "what is Bittachon?". – Yishai Nov 24 '14 at 23:07
  • Ok. Fair enough. – user6591 Nov 24 '14 at 23:11
  • I had extensive discussion with someone about if the Chovos Halevavos really means what he is quoted as saying, and it doesn't seem so clear that he does. – Y     e     z Nov 24 '14 at 23:37
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    @YEZ there is a seffer i think its called Bitachon Ish who systematically goes through anyone and everyone who ever mentioned Bitachon to prove that they all are of the same opinion as the Chazon Ish. I never checked his sources to see if the proofs add up or not. Think ill throw this out as an answer. – user6591 Nov 25 '14 at 4:17
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There is a seffer called Bitachon Ish who brings proofs to the Chazzon Ish's opinion from earlier sources. http://www.hebrewbooks.org/51363

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