18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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The Income Test of Emuna    

The Income Test of Emuna

Most people can't believe that anything other than their efforts and talent help them succeed. When we think like this we're in real trouble, and really vulnerable as well...


It's that time of year again – here in the USA it’s time to fill out our tax returns. How many times have you expected a sizable refund only to find that the refund will be much less? Or worse, instead of a refund you owe the government money!


Once we finish our tax returns, those of us with children in Torah day schools need to file our scholarship applications for the upcoming school year. This is especially traumatic when one looks at all the expected expenses and wonders: “How in the world am I going to pay for this?”


I found myself becoming a bit wobbly, so I knew it was time to review my notes from Rabbi Shalom Arush's Emuna CDs in English, translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody: Easy Income, Income with Emuna, and Dollars and Sense. Reviewing these helped fortify my emuna, just in the nick of time!


Making a living is the biggest test of emuna. The manna shows exactly how we’re fed.


The Torah was intended for those who eat the manna. How can this be? Manna no longer falls from heaven! This statement refers to people with emuna and trust in Hashem to the extent that they believe He will deliver their daily bread.


Most people can't believe that anything other than their efforts and talent help them succeed. When we think like this we're in real trouble. That’s when we are subject to recessions, inflation, banks, customers, employees, bosses, etc. With this mind set we look at the world with a pack mule’s eyes. A pack mule thinks he alone carries the burden.


When Hashem gives us advice we should trust what He says. We place our trust in lawyers, doctors, and financial advisors. All the more so we should trust the Omniscient One Who says: “You do your job and I'll do mine.” Our job is to serve Hashem and His is to provide for us.


Emuna builds; Worry destroys.


Emuna invokes divine compassion and opens up the heavenly pipes of abundance. It creates a vessel to receive income. Worry, however, destroys income. When the manna fell from heaven each day, some people worried that they would not have enough to eat the following day and brought home extra provisions. They quickly found that these extra portions spoiled and became filled with maggots and worms.


Our job is to learn Torah and Hashem’s job is to worry about providing for us. Unfortunately many people get this backwards and think it’s their job to worry and Hashem’s job to learn Torah. This is a sure-fire formula for both economic failure and health problems.


Moses told Aaron to put some manna in a jar. It kept for hundreds of years. The prophet Jeremiah personally held and displayed this jar to demonstrate how Hashem fed 600,000 families in the wilderness. He told the people they would not lose by spending time learning Torah.


When you’re in the service of the King, it’s His job to get you what you need.


People often worry that they don't have enough money to send their children to a Torah school or to live in a religious neighborhood. The financial hurdles seem overwhelming. The Evil Inclination has a field day and goes on the offensive:


“How do you think you are going to meet all these expenses? Are you crazy? Public schools in the suburbs are excellent and your children can attend for free! Moreover you can buy a house in another neighborhood for a fraction of the cost! Where do you think you're going to get all this money? Do you plan on robbing a bank?”


Rabbi Brody gives us an answer that will jolt the Evil Inclination and knock him flat on his back:  If Hashem orders us to do a mitzvah, He'll give us the wherewithal to do so. In other words when someone is in the King’s army, it’s the King’s job is to provide the rifle, uniform, boots and all the provisions a person needs. As long as we dedicate our lives to serving Hashem by raising a Torah family, is there any doubt that He will take care of our needs?


We’re working for free.


Rebbe Nachman told a story about a beggar who was directed to a house where he thought he would get free food but was told by the homeowner that he would have to chop wood for several hours. Finally when he had completed his required labor and was ready to keel over from exhaustion and hunger he was sent to a soup kitchen across the street. When he subsequently complained that he wasn't getting enough food to eat after working so hard, the manager of the soup kitchen surmised that he had previously gone to the wrong location. He assured the poor man he’d receive plenty of food and added that he wanted him to recognize one important fact: “Just as you worked across the street for nothing, so here you’ll eat for nothing!”


It's really true. All of us work for free and we eat for free. We think our employers provide our wages, but it’s really Hashem who provides our livelihood.


Don’t make a fuss, Hashem’s driving the bus.


Rabbi Brody recounts a story from the Garden of Emuna about a person riding on an intercity bus. He says it's best to trust in the Tour Guide and the Driver and have an enjoyable trip. The tour guide is Rebbe Nachman and the Driver is Hashem!


May we continuously pray and work on our emuna and build genuine trust in Hashem. In the merit of this, He will surely open up the pipes of abundance and provide us with all we need to serve Him.

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