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Your Competitive Advantage

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016 - 11:25 am


Rabbi, It's enough. My non Jewish neighbor has an easier life. Judaism takes up my time and money. I have fewer hours in the day to dedicate to my business and less money to reinvest. My daily schedule is full of interruptions; morning prayers, online Torah study and afternoon and evening prayers. The Torah requires that I contribute to tzedakah; to support helping people, Jewish outreach, Torah Study and Children's education. My neighbor isn't required to do any of this. And Shabbos? A whole day off of work plus the costly Shabbos meal, hosting guests, Shul pledge, etc. all this while my neighbor is busy making even more money. Why does Judaism put me at a disadvantage?


You are correct; you spend less time working and more time connecting with Hashem. You recognize that your money is not only for you and that G-d wants you to share it with others and support good causes. That being said, you can compete and you can be even more successful because you have a secret. 

Your secret lies in the laws of Shmitta; leaving the land to rest once in seven years, to which Hashem says "And if you should say, “What will we eat in the seventh year? … I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will yield produce for three years." (Leviticus 25: 20-21). That same year, all indentured servants go free. The Torah says: “Then, he (the servant) shall leave you. He, and his children with him, and he shall return to his family”. The Talmud asks: why are his children leaving? they were not sold as indentured servants. To which Rabbi Shimon (the star of Lag B'Omer) answers: Yes, but the master is required to provide for the children while the father is employed by him. 

Hashem is considered the master and the people are considered His servants. Hashem follows the laws of the Torah and is therefore required to provide for His servants. So while you may work fewer hours in order to do Hashem’s bidding, you get paid more per hour!

So have no fear, you have a competitive advantage! You are working smarter not harder. 

BTW, knowing that you are into music, here is a link to a song that is sung after Shabbos is over. The words are from the Havdalah prayer, mixed with a traditional verse sung after Shabbos: Fear not, Jacob My servant (Jeremiah 46:27). One of the reasons this verse is sung, is to help deal with the natural fear expressed in your question. We are saying to have no fear, for we are Hashem's servants and He is required to provide for us. The same reason why we hold the Havdalah candle; we may be heading into a seemingly bleak week, yet with G-d’s help we will light it up. 

Keep at it and the blessings will come in a revealed way!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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