It’s Not Up To Us

“God said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain down bread from Heaven for you’” (Exodus 16:4).

How often do we hear people complaining about how difficult it is to make a buck these days? It doesn’t help that the media is filled with dire predictions of economic turmoil. Why is making a living so difficult?

The Zohar says that earning a livelihood is not dependent on our merits but on our mazel or constellation. The Arizal explains that this refers to a place in the spiritual worlds that is extremely lofty. The spiritual source of earning a living is so distant from our world that in reality it should not descend down to us. However, God, in His great kindness, “steps in” and provides for all of His creations; as we say in Eshet Chayil, “She brings her bread from afar.”

There is much to be learned from this principle. Firstly, if we are fortunate enough to see material wealth, we shouldn’t think that we’ve somehow entered a new class of society and God is now responsible to maintain our new status. Everything God sends us is a blessing and we need to be grateful for what He has given to us, without expecting any extras. As far as what we really need, we must trust that God will provide for us each and every day. If we truly understood how distant the source of livelihood is from us and the path it must travel in order to reach us, we will realize that a livelihood is truly miraculous and have full confidence in God’s abilities without a doubt.

This was the lesson of the Manna that fell every day to provide for the Jewish People in the desert. God could have made the Manna last for a week or even a month without spoiling, so why did He cause the Jews to go out and collect the Manna every day? It was in order to teach us that God provides for us in a miraculous way on a daily basis. We must turn our eyes Heavenward and not to worry about the hows and ifs, or even about tomorrow. God always has provided and always will provide.

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Hilkhot Shiluach HaKen 5

Author: Yossi Katz

Yossi Katz currently lives in Lakewood, NJ where he runs the BRI American Office. He studied in Beth Medrash Gevoha, as well as the former Breslov Kollel of Lakewood headed by Rabbi Shlomo Goldman.

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1 Comment

  1. Yes, “if someone says, I have worked and found (shefa), you may believe him. This is true for the words of Torah, but with business, all is dependent on the assistance from heaven (mazal).” – Megillah 6b

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