It's a 50-50 arrangement. You pay $10, and receive $10 worth of goods.
You give, and others in turn, give you. It doesn't matter what you
give, your time, your money, your thoughts, prayers, energy -- the more
you give, the more you receive. Conversely, the less you give, the less
There's an additional aspect to this idea. We all start life in this
world with resources -- health, strength, intelligence, imagination,
people to help us, etc. With this wealth, we join in with the world
around us. However, if we hoard our riches, keeping them only to
ourselves, trying to sponge on others without giving anything in
return, our wealth shrinks. Even that which was originally ours
disappears and ceases to exist. The more we give, the more we receive,
and our wealth grows. The less we give, the less we receive, and our
"...people who take advantage of others* and deceive them do not
reach even half their days..." (Tehillim 25.54). Even the half they
have, they lose.
* Literally, bloodthirsty people; the word "damim" meaning both blood and money.
The more we appreciate the Creator and the extent of His doings, the
more angels we have to help us. This however, requires the attribute of
We need to remind ourselves that our many abilities and talents are
gifts -- we didn't create ourselves, and we can never be sure that the
strengths we enjoy today, we will still have tomorrow.
Once we see the world from the right perspective, we release tremendous heavenly help -- and everything becomes the easier.
At the Root
The best way to tackle a problem is at the root. We need however, to first search for and identify that root.
"...one, who fixes a place for his prayers, has his enemies fall before
him."* This teaching refers not only to the physical positioning
of our bodies, but to the focus of our minds as well.** If we can look
to the Power of all powers, the Source of all life -- if we can see
that everything in our world originates from the Creator alone -- we
connect ourselves to our root, and take an all-important step towards
solving our problems.
* Brochos 7a
** Lev Eliyahu, Chochma v'Mussar, Aleph, pg 45
Only Two Things
We need to be doing no more than two things. One is enjoying this
world; the second is building it. To succeed in both these areas, we
need one vital component. This is always to learn. The skills we have
acquired in the past are only good together with the skills we learn
today, combined of course, with creative thought.
So the formula is:
1. Learn to enjoy this world, look for ways to appreciate it, to feel grateful for its many pleasures and riches.
2. Learn to add to this world, search out how you can build, renew and
improve it. Build it in a physical sense, but more importantly, build
it in a spiritual sense. Build not only your house, but your family,
your community; build your connection with upper worlds. Turn your
world into something sublime and special.
Some people fill up their cars once a week; others do so more
frequently. When it comes to filling up our bodies, most people eat
three times a day, and snack in between as well.
We need to remember though, that as we fill up our physical body, so we
must fill our spiritual body. To feel spiritually good, intellectually
strong, eating three times a day is a minimum, and "snacking" makes it
all the better. Feasting on spiritual food, rather than adding weight
to our stomach, adds weight to all we do! It gives us new ability,
vitality and force.
Little and Large
Problems often arise when we abandon the big, important issues in life,
and focus instead on the small, petty ones. For instance, we won't give
two minutes for our families, but spend hours looking for the right
pair of shoes. We gobble down our prayers; then waste hours debating
wacky issues. We complain that we're too tired to attend a learning
session; then spend hours clutching a novel. This is not good.
True, our minor ambitions, our petty drives and worries capture our
imaginations and hearts much more than the big issues, but this is only
because we don't invest enough thought into these issues. We must make
time to meditate on what is truly precious to us. Then we will live
according to our real priorities.
Little people busy themselves with little things. Large, important
people occupy themselves with large, important things. We are all we
do. The more we waste our time, the more we waste ourselves. But when
we focus on life's big issues, when we give our minds and hearts to
great projects, then we become important people.
What is your central interest? What one thing in your life most
concerns you? It is important to identify this; for then, you can focus
your efforts on reaching this goal.
Now -- a different question -- what do you think should be your central interest? What one thing should concern you the most?
If you gave the same answer as before, this is excellent. You really
are a centered person. If however, you gave a different answer, you
have think-work ahead of you. You need somehow to discover that in
reaching what you should be reaching, you will reach what you really
For instance, your central interest may be in being a beautiful person,
living with a beautiful family, in a beautiful home, etc. At the same
time, you realize that your goal should in being more spiritual. What
you then need is to link the two interests as follows: Understand that
through coming close to the Creator entitles you to a great blessing,
and that this blessing will bring you everything else you could wish
for, that beautiful body, beautiful family, beautiful home, etc.
A way to promote your central interest is by connecting all you do, right through your day, to your central interest.
Make your eating, drinking, sleeping, walking, talking satellites to
your main goal -- i.e. eat that you may have energy to reach your goal;
sleep to refresh your body for this same reason, take a break for this
reason, etc. This way, your every action, all your energies, move
you to the success you want, and you reach it the faster.
In Need or Not
A person, who has all he needs, looks to help others, to boost and
encourage them to their own success. Such a person we can call rich.
On the other hand, a person who feels deficient in 101 different ways
has no time for others. Before he can service anyone else, he must
worry about himself. This person we would say is poor.
Thus, since we decide whether we need things or not -- since we
determine whether we can give of our time, energy and money to others
or not -- we likewise define ourselves as being rich or poor.
A heretic/intellectual asked this: What's the difference between one
who believes in the Creator and who doesn't? While their lifestyles may
vary, are they really so unlike? This person lives with his own best
interests in mind, and the other likewise lives with his own best
interests in mind.
We can extend the question as follows: If one chooses to follow an
exercise and diet routine, but his friend just couldn't be bothered, he
is the richer for his discipline and hard work. However, his friend,
who doesn't enjoy the same gains, still profits. He continues to eat
whatever he fancies, as well as enjoying his extra leisure time. Each
one -- as he sees it -- lives with his own best interest in mind. Are
they then different? And likewise, is there a real difference between
one who believes in the Creator and one who doesn't?
In truth though, the Creator gives us something greater than a promise
of reward and punishment. He has a plan for this world, a project He is
systematically developing. This great scheme depends much on us. As
such, it is an opportunity. It allows us to be partners in bringing the
world to its perfection. As we follow this plan, we create the
difference -- the difference between Light and Dark, Good and Evil, and
even, Life and Death.*
* The two main names we use for the Creator reflect this difference.
The unutterable name, which we pronounce only as Adon... (our Lord)
reflects that we are in His service, and working towards bringing the
world to the beauty, love and joy that we all so want.
Elokim (G-d) is the judge who rewards us for our good deeds and
punishes us for our ugly ones; this relates more specifically to our