07 November 2009


Pleasurable Parnassa

When it comes to parnassa, it’s known that a person's livelihood for the year is predetermined from Rosh Hashana. You don't have to chase money with a net - Hashem gives it to you.
The practical manifestation of emuna is one's level of trust in Hashem. Trust includes the awareness that Hashem sustains all His creations and does so dependably. Those who trust Hashem aren't worried and know that He who has fed them in the past will continue to do so in the future. They also know that their livelihood doesn't depend on their craftiness or on their cunning – it depends on Hashem only.

No one can detract from the income that Hashem designates for a person. The Talmud states emphatically (tractate Yoma 38b) that one human is incapable of touching a fellow human's intended portion. Knowing this, a person need not worry nor fear anyone or anything.

Trust in Hashem – that one's livelihood is predetermined and exclusively from Hashem – enables a person to conduct his or her business affairs with confidence, a clear mind, and a healthy outlook. Stress and anxiety fall by the wayside. With trust in Hashem, a person goes through life with inner peace, avoiding the pitfalls of crazy wheeling, dealing, and chasing money at the expense of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

With trust in Hashem, a person doesn't think about money all day long. Peace of mind is only two words away – Hashem provides.

Business is one continuous test of faith. Businesspeople are tested every single second: If they believe that their livelihood comes from Hashem, then they're calm and composed, conducting their affairs on an honest basis. If they believe otherwise - that their income depends on their own efforts and aptitude - then they're most likely working much too hard and wasting energy looking for all types of ploys – legal or otherwise - to make money.

One's entire life depends on emuna that Hashem provides for every creation. Emuna creates a clear, clean, and shining spiritual pipe that abundance flows through, directly from heaven to a person's bank account or dinner table. Drinking from the pipe of emuna is like drinking from a silver goblet. Without emuna, one drinks from the spiritual equivalent of a sewer pipe, where one's income is contaminated with negative emotions, bad health, and damage to the soul.

There are only two options in life:

1. You can believe that Hashem predetermines your income and that every last cent designated for you will reach you at an exact time and in its entirety, if not from one source, then from a different source, if not today, then tomorrow. As a result, you are calm and composed, and avoid the troubles of illegal and dishonest business procedures.

2. If you don't believe in Hashem or in His ability to support you and you bang your head against the wall trying to make a living, angry and irritable most of the time because life is a living death. You sink into debt, you're confused, and you can't think clearly with the tensions and stress that weigh you down. Oftentimes, you catch yourself cutting the corners of honesty and wholesome business practices in trying to make an additional buck.

True, a person can't lie in bed and say "Hashem will provide", because that's relying on an outright miracle, something we're not allowed to do. But, as long as you're trying your best and doing a reasonable day's work (that's all you're expected to do - if in doubt, consult your personal rav or spiritual guide as to what a reasonable day's work is for you), then the miracle of Hashem's personal supervision over your livelihood is clothed in seemingly natural circumstances.

This is a list of 20 factors affecting parnassa compiled from "Sefer HaMidos" by Rebbe Nachman of Breslev:

1. Lack of trust in Hashem vs. Trust in Hashem
2. Cruel to others vs. Compassionate
3. Lewdness vs. Shmiras HaBris
4. Alcohol vs. Spiritual awareness
5. Disdain of Torah vs. Respect of Torah
6. Foul Speech vs. Clean speech
7. Desecrating the Sabbath vs. Honoring the Sabbath
8. Failing to repent for old sins vs. Tshuva
9. Sadness and depression vs. Happiness
10. Ingratitude, especially to Hashem vs. Gratitude and prayer
11. Stinginess vs. Charity, especially a full tithe
12. Idol worship, blasphemy vs. Strengthening faith in Hashem
13. Immodesty vs. Modesty
14. Anger vs. Patience
15. Judging others severely vs. Judging others fairly
16. Dishonesty vs. Integrity
17. Arrogance vs. Humility
18. Infidelity vs. Honoring one's wife
19. Domestic strife vs. Peace in the home
20. Instigating hate vs. Making peace between people

May Hashem bless you always with abundance, amen!

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