I’m pretty sure you know the answer to that. But, what I’m not sure you knew is that the Torah has been saying this for thousands of years.
On my new course Jewish Money Makeover, we talk a lot about mindset and the power of our thoughts. Some of my students have shared that full trust in G-d with respect to their financial lives is a really challenging thing. “Somehow trust is so much easier for my ________ (husband, sister, friend…) Why can’t I develop this level of trust!?” They’ve shared how their thoughts take them to dark places, like imagining themselves begging for food in a street corner, despite the fact that they have very robust savings, investments, and no debt.
Let me share a story with you…
The great Reb Zusha of Anapoli used to finish his morning prayers and say out loud to G-d, “Master of the World, your servant Zusha would like some breakfast.” On cue, his servant would serve him breakfast. This went on every morning for a very long time.
Until one day, the servant thought to himself, “Ugg Zusha, who do you think brings you breakfast every day!? I do! I’m the one who makes you breakfast and serves you breakfast! I’ll teach you a lesson! See what will happen tomorrow morning…”
The next day, after his morning prayers, Reb Zusha uttered his usual statement: “Master of the World, your servant Zusha would like some breakfast.”
The servant stayed with his arms crossed in the kitchen, grinned, and did not serve breakfast.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door…
When the servant opened the door, he found a man holding platters of food. “I just hosted a Brit Mila and have many platters of left over food. I figured Reb Zusha could do something with all this food. Let me come in and bring in all these platters.”
The servant pondered, “Ah Zusha, Zusha, what was I thinking!? Indeed, it is the Master of the Universe who feeds Reb Zusha. I’m just His channel. And if I refuse to feed Zusha, well G-d Almighty simply finds another channel to bring Zusha food.”
Having heard this and many other stories about the holy Reb Zusha often, I wasn’t too surprised when I stumbled upon a beautiful insight Reb Zusha gave on a classic question on the Torah Portion of Behar, which discusses the mitzvah of shmita (Sabbatical of the land which occurred every 7 years in the Land in Israel). I was surprised, however, to find a great insight into the intersection between our thoughts and our wealth.
The classic question on the portion of Behar is:
Why does the Torah introduce a question and answer during the narrative of the mitzvah of shmita ? (Leviticus 25: 20-22) “What will we eat in the seventh year?” (Leviticus 25: 20) Why not state the mitzvah in the usual Torah form: statements? Or, why doesn’t the Torah clarify the implicit question of ‘what will we eat?’ with an additional word or letter, as is often the case?” Why the need for an entire verse with a question, and an entire verse with an answer!?” (Leviticus 25: 22)
In his Sefer Noam Elimelesch, the great Elimelech of Lizhensk quotes a beautiful explanation by his holy brother Reb Zusha.
Reb Zusha explains that when G-d creates a person, He creates him with a flow of abundance that is drawn down from the Heavens for that person. This flow is continuous and uninterrupted. Except…
… when the person stops identifying with his core essential self, and looses trust in G-d- who truly guards for him, and provides sustenance for all creations without interruption.
When his trust isn’t complete, the person holds back the flow from above. Alas, the flow is interrupted.
Thus, G-d has to command it again, so to speak, as He did at the beginning of creation.
In other words, when the person thinks “What will I eat?” he causes an interruption in the flow that has been granted to him from above. Then, G-d has to renew this flow, and command it again, as He had since the beginning of creation.
Thus, we see the question in the verse in Behar:
“And if you ask, ‘What will bee eat in the seventh year? After all, we must not sow nor gather in our produce.” (Devarim 25:20)
with the answer immediately following:
“I will then command my blessing for you in the sixth year, and the land will yield produce for the three years’ use.” (Devarim 25:21)
Reb Zusha says, rather than questioning G-d and having to elicit again the blessing, the Torah is telling us not to even ask the question in the first place! Reb Zusha is saying, G-d’s answer is just a backup plan because we asked! In fact, G-d had it all taken care of since the beginning and just by questioning Him with our THOUGHTS of doubt we interrupted the divine flow of abundance.
Reb Zusha, ladies; not the New York Times Best Sellers List!
Want to learn practical skills to control your thoughts, emotions and actions arout money? Want tap into thousands of years of Jewish wisdom to transform your financial life? Join Jewish Money Makeover HERE.
The source in Hebrew, which is very beautiful is HERE. (Noam Elimelech, Parashat Behar)
Immense gratitude to Rabbi YY Jacobson for explaining this in a wonderful class here and to my son for re-learning the original Hebrew text with me.