One of the questions a person has to ask himself is why does Hashem want us to work so hard, so long, for so many hours? Meaning to say, Hashem put us on the planet to grow, to accomplish. Hashem did not create us to be a beast of burden. Yet we’ll spend eight hours, 10 hours a day working. And the question is why would Hashem want that to be? Why didn’t Hashem just give us the type of living that we’d work an hour or two a day and then be done?
Explains the Chovos Halevavos because we were put on the planet to grow, to accomplish — to be tested. You see, when you have to work very, very diligently, you have to work for weeks and months and it’s one little shading of a truth that will make a tremendous difference in the bottom line, that’s a life test. When you have to struggle to earn a living and you do give maaser (tithe to charity) or you don’t give maaser, that’s a major life test. To be able to cut through the thick and thin, to be able to cut through the haze and see that it’s Hashem Who determines every outcome. To recognize that Hashem is the One Who defines what will be is very difficult when you’re really in the thick and thin of life.
If it were easy, we wouldn’t have to work so hard, if I have annuities coming in left right and center and all I had to do was just figure out who I’m going to write the checks to, there wouldn’t be much of a life struggle. But when I have to really earn a living by working very diligently and being very focused, now already it’s a life test, now it’s a major nisayon (test) of how do I earn my living? How do I spend my time? How do I spend the money that I earn? Am I honest and ethical? The reason why Hashem wants us to work is because that is a life test. It allows us to grow, it allows us to accomplish. And if I use it properly it elevates me and it allows me to become a much greater individual.