The Money Comes After


Having money is a wonderful blessing. It allows one to learn more Torah, perform a lot of hesed, and support many worthy causes and organizations. However, this should never be one’s goal in life. The Mishnah (Avot 1:15) exhorts, “Our primary goal should be Torah and mitzvot, and our work should be secondary.” We need to invest a normal amount of effort to earn a livelihood, but at the same time we must remember that if Hashem wishes for us to support charitable organizations, He’ll find a way to give us the money to do so. The pasuk in Tehillim (23:6) states “Goodness and kindness shall pursue me.” If somebody is meant to be wealthy, then the blessing will come.

The Chovot HaLevavot (Shaar HaBitachon) writes that the obligation of hishtadlut (effort) applies only to the work necessary to obtain the basic necessities of life. Beyond that, one’s wealth will come or not come regardless of our efforts. Our attitude toward parnassah must be one of “We work so that we can eat, so we have the basics that we need in life (Tehillim 128:2). If this is our approach, then, as the verse continues, “we will earn blessing both in this world and the Next.”

Parnassah is not something we should be thinking or worrying about constantly. The Torah says we need to work for our livelihood, not that we need to worry about our livelihood. Hashem brought us into the world, and it is His job to provide for us. Our job, meanwhile, is to serve Him, and parnassah must never get in the way of this job.

Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk received a phone call from a woman who wanted to have another child (her fifth) but her husband was opposed. He said that he earned just enough money to support four children, and they were thus not in a position to have any more. The husband agreed to listen to the Rabbi, and so they consulted with Rabbi Falk, who quoted the Gemara’s comment (Niddah 31a), “When a child comes into the world, he comes with a piece of bread in his hand.” This means that when Hashem blesses a couple with a child, He provides them with the means of supporting the child. A year and a half later, the woman called back and enthusiastically reported that they had a boy. She further reported the day after the baby was born, they received a phone call from relatives who were elated over the birth, and who were blessed with wealth and wanted to share it with this family. These relatives wired money to their account. Several days after the brit she went to the bank and found that $10,000 had been deposited. They saw yad Hashem (Hashem’s hand) so clearly, the fulfillment of the Gemara’s statement that when the child is born, Hashem provides the means of supporting him.

We will not always see Hashem’s assistance so clearly, but one way or another, He will ensure to increase a family’s parnassah as it grows. Each child that is born brings more blessing. Our job is to do the will of Hashem, and His job is to provide us with our needs.

There are men who are still single because they have not yet secured an adequate source of livelihood to support a family. The Gemara says (Bava Metzia 59a), “Blessing is found in the home only on the account of the wife.” The source of this statement is the story of Avraham Avinu, who received great wealth in Egypt on account of his wife. If a man of marriageable age does not earn enough to support a family, this might very well be specifically because he does not yet have a family to support. Once he marries and has a family to provide for, Hashem will step in to ensure he is able to do so.

We have to do our job, and then Hashem will do His.