One of my favorite vortlach of the Noam Elimelech is in this week’s parsha. The Torah says that we must not plant during shmitta. “And if you shall ask what shall we eat, for we may not plant or harvest our crops? – I will command my blessing during the sixth year and the crop will last for three years." (25:20-21) The pasuk could just succinctly say that Hashem provides the bracha of an abundant sixth year’s crop - why does the Torah go through the “shakla v’tarya”, this give and take exchange between the farmer’s question and G-d’s answer instead of just getting to the point?
We need one point of introduction about schar v’onesh to better understand the N.E. Just like if you stick your hand on a hot stove, the stove is not “punishing” you with a burn, if you choose to be a ba’al aveira, you will suffer certain repercussions as an inevitable consequence of the act, not because G-d changes the “natural” course of events to create that punishment. By the same token, if someone does good, a natural consequence of that goodness is the reward that flows from shamayim in that person’s direction.
For a ba’al bitachon, Hashem’s command is sufficient to perform the mitzvah of shmita without question as to what food there will be. As a natural consequence, the appropriate reward and sustenance will be directed his/her way from shamayim. Our pasuk is directed to the person who is not such a ba’al bitachon – it speaks to someone who hears the command of shmita and is worried and questions where the food will come from. The consequence of doubt should rightfully block the bountiful harvest reward of true bitachon. However, in this case Hashem intervenes and “commands” – i.e. he changes the natural course of events – and directs that even someone who would not merit a bountiful harvest based on their level of bitachon be rewarded with the means to get through the shmita year.
Bitachon means trust with no kashes – trust after you are promised that everything will work out well (which the Torah does not guarantee anyway) is not the same as real bitachon. I don’t know about you, but worry about how to pay tuition bills, job stress, etc is very much part of my life - this is a very hard madreiga to reach.