1. Finding the Balance

One of the greatest challenges that we in this world have is finding the balance between our involvement and Hashem’s involvement. Meaning to say, what’s my part, what’s Hashem’s part. How do we find that proper perspective where I do my part properly and yet I understand Hashem’s role in running the world.

Maybe the easiest way to really begin to understand this is to focus on one of the great contradictions in the Gemara (Talmud). The Gemara tells us “kol mezonosav shel adam,” the exact amount of money a person is to make that year, “ketzuvin lo mei’Rosh Hashanah.” Exactly the dollar amount, exactly the amount of money that I am to make this year is set on Rosh Hashanah (New Year).

That tells us that Hashem is directly involved and Hashem determines how much money I am to make this year. And yet at the same time we are told an obvious contradiction. The Gemara tells us that there are four things that require chizuk (strengthening). One of the areas that require constant invigoration, constant psyching oneself up for is derech eretz. Rashi explains that that means working for a living.

Meaning, when you go out to the marketplace,  you have to wake up early in the morning, go out there with vim, with vigor, with energy. You have to really put in a very diligent effort.

Now, these two Gemaras seem to be in contradiction. If I know the amount of money I am to make this year is set, what do I have to work so hard for? What do I have to go out into the marketplace and really focus and be diligent and vigorously pursue it? Work a little bit and take it easy.  The answer to this question is that Hashem wants us to use the world in a particular way yet to understand that it’s Hashem Who controls all the outcomes. Understanding this balance and beginning to understand it in a way that is real to us is one of the ultimate challenges and one of the great tests of bitachon (trust).