Duties of the Heart, Fourth Treatise on Trust, Chapter 2

Written by Bachya ibn Pekuda

There are seven factors which make it possible for one to trust in another (human being):

(1) Compassion, pity and love. When a man knows that his friend has compassion and pity for him, he will trust in him and be at peace with regard to troubling him with all of his matters.

(2) To know that his friend, besides loving him, is not forgetful or lazy in taking care of his needs. Rather, he knows that his friend is active and resolved to do it. Because if all of this is not clear, one’s trust in him will not be complete, since one knows of his forgetfulness and laziness in attending to his needs.
But, when the one he trusts combines these two traits, great compassion for him and full attendance to his matters, he will trust in him without a doubt.

(3) He is strong. He will not be defeated in whatever he desires, and nothing can prevent him from doing the request of the one who trusts him. Because if he is weak, one cannot fully trust in him, even though it is clear that he is compassionate and active, due to the many occasions in which he failed doing things. When one combines these three traits, trusting in him will be more fitting.

(4) That the one he trusts knows what is beneficial for him, both for his inner and outer life and also that none of the ways which benefit him or further his welfare are hidden to him. Because, if he does not know all of this, one will not be at peace in entrusting himself to him. But if he combines the knowledge of the ways which are beneficial to him, the ability to implement them, great attendance to them, and compassion for him, his trust will certainly be strengthened.

(5) That the one he trusts is under the exclusive care of him from the beginning of his existence, his development, babyhood, childhood, youth, adulthood, old age until the end of his days (i.e. that no one else has ever done to him any good except the one he trusts – ML). And when all this is clear to the truster, he is obligated to be at peace on his friend, and to rely on him, because of the many past benefits he already received from his friend and the constant favors he still presently receives. And this will obligate strengthening one’s trust in him. (since he has been continuously benevolent to him from then until now, certainly he will not abandon him until his final end – PL)

(6) All matters of the truster are entirely in the hands of the one he trusts, and no one else can hurt him, help him, benefit him, or protect him from harm, as a slave chained down in a prison is entirely in the hands of his master. If the truster were in the hands of the one he trusts in this manner, it would be more fitting to trust in him.

(7) That the person he trusts is absolutely generous and kind (i.e. the most possible extreme of generosity and kindness – TL) to those deserving and to those who are not deserving, and that his generosity and kindness is continuous, never ending and without interruption.

Whoever combines these traits, in addition to all of the previous traits has completed all the conditions that deserve trust, and would obligate the person who knows this to trust in him, to be at peace internally and externally, in his heart and in his limbs, and to give himself up to him and accept his decrees and judge him favorably in all his judgments and actions. (to presume that certainly everything is good and even what seems bad is actually good – ML)

When we investigate these seven conditions, we will not find them at all in the created beings, but we find them all in the Creator. He is compassionate to His creations as written “The L-ord is merciful and gracious” (Tehilim 103:8), and “Now should I not take pity on Nineveh, the great city” (Yonah 4:11).

And that he never neglects us, as written “Behold the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Tehilim 121:4), that He is all-wise and invincible as written “He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who hardened [his heart] against Him and remained unhurt?” (Iyov 9:4), and “Yours, O L-ord, are the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty” (Divrei Hayamim I 29:11) and “The L-ord your G-d is in your midst-a Mighty One Who will save” (Tzefania 3:17).

And that He alone is the one who guides a person from the beginning of his existence and development, as written “Is He not your Father who has acquired you? He has made you and established you.” (Devarim 32:6), and “By You have I been upheld from birth: You are He that took me out of my mother’s womb” (Tehilim 71:6), and “Did You not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” (Iyov 10:10), and the rest of the matter.

That one’s benefit or harm is not in the hands of people but rather, only in the hands of the Creator, as written “Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the L-ord ordained it? Out of the mouth of G-d, evil and good do not go out (of the boundary He has set – PL)” (Eicha 3:37), and “[All flesh is like grass, and all their kindness is as the flower of the field]; The grass shall dry out, the flower shall wilt, but the word of our G-d will stand forever” (Yeshaya 40:8), and “…surely the people are like grass” (Yeshaya 40:7), and we have already explained this sufficiently in the third gate of this book.

That His generosity is universal and His kindness is all-embracing, as written “The L-ord is good to all, and His mercies are on all His works” (Tehilim 145:9) and “Who gives food to all flesh, for His kindness endures forever” (Tehilim 136:25), and “You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing [with] will (i.e. the good He bestows is not in a stingy way, according to basic need, but rather like His will – PL)” (Tehilim 145:16).
But really, the intellect can infer that these 7 conditions exist in the Creator and not in the created beings (as he will explain next chapter – TL), and therefore I have brought these verses from scripture only as a remembrance.

When one clarifies this to himself, and his recognition in the true kindness of the Creator will be strong – he will place his trust in Him, give himself up completely to Him, and leave the guidance of his life to Him, never suspect Him in His judgments, nor be upset by what He has chosen for him, as David said (on the good – TL) “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the L-ord” (Tehilim 116:13), and (on the bad – TL) “I found trouble and sorrow and call upon the name of the L-ord” (Tehilim 116:3-4).