Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
To dedicate this lesson

Livelihood from Heaven


Rabbi Haggai Lundin

Shvat 5783
This past Tuesday, did you recite the verses about the "portion of the manna [Parashat haMan]" that came down to the Israelites in the desert? Some people read them every day, and some on the Tuesday before the Torah reading of B’shalach as a segula [merit] for "a livelihood from heaven".

About three years ago, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I had a conversation with a senior businessman regarding the state of Israel’s economy. That senior official was depressed and made dark predictions: "You know," he whispered to me on the phone, "we are now going back to the austerity days of the 1950s. The Israeli economy is facing collapse and I suggest that you store eggs and flour at home". I replied that I am not an economist, but my logical faith works like this: there is a God. In other words, good rules the world. There are, of course, declines, but the principled view is optimistic. In the case of the State of Israel, over the course of eighty years we have seen a clear upward climb on all levels – security, economic, and social – and therefore it is clear to me that in the long run we will also overcome this crisis.

I remembered that conversation this week, when I spoke with an acquaintance – also a businessman – about a certain financial investment in Israeli stocks. This acquaintance warned me that "we are facing a civil war" and that "the political situation today is the greatest disaster that has ever occurred in the State of Israel". Of course, I cannot predict what will happen with this or that specific investment, but I can be sure that we will also get over the current threatening balloon (which is, by the way, not a natural disaster but an attempted sabotage of a small elite whose reign has passed).

The "Parashat haMan", that we read these days, comes to teach us to internalize the principle that "livelihood is from heaven". This is not mysticism but a deep insight that underlies life: livelihood and economics are not only the product of human thoughts but are "min", ie from, heaven. [Note that min in Hebrew is spelled the same as Man]. The heavenly element, the divine goodness – is what leads the mystery/history of mankind, and therefore, the bottom line is that our economic situation also constantly improves from generation to generation.

The bad will pass.
The good will prevail.
With God's help.
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