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Kislev 5

You might say to yourself, "My might and the power of my hand have gained me this wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:17).

Moses warned the Israelites that upon entering Canaan and inheriting a prosperous and fertile land "flowing with milk and honey," they should not think that their own prowess had made them wealthy. Rather, they should be aware that Israel was a Divine gift.

For that generation, the challenge was not too difficult, because as Moses had pointed out to them earlier, they had personally experienced forty years of miraculous survival in the desert wilderness, fed by the daily manna and watered by a spring which accompanied them on their journeys. With such overt manifestations of Divine wonders, they would not be likely to ascribe any future success to their own strength and cunning.

Today, however, we stand many centuries away from the Biblical times. We may think that the world operates purely by natural law; that we can completely determine our own fate and fortune, and in which success or failure are due to our shrewdness in business or how much effort we exert.

Thus, Moses' message was intended for us even more than for his generation. Surely we are required to engage in work, for the Torah itself states that God will bless the work of "your hands" (Deuteronomy 14:29), but we should not lose sight of the fact that the Divine blessing, not brains or brawn, ultimately determines our fortune. The only difference between today and Moses' time is that there, God's hand was manifest everywhere, but today it is concealed.

Today I shall...

try to remember that even though I work hard, the results of my efforts are determined by Divine blessing.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) mysteries, November 22, 2009 7:01 PM

Place bets.

The divine blessing is not in one's control but other things are. One must get in a position to be able to receive such a blessing through appropriate efforts. Leaving everything to chance like a lottery ticket is not wise. Just like one's chances of winning are limited so ones chances of divine blessing by doing nothing are limited. Even the holder of a lottery ticket has a better chance of winning because that person has bought a ticket and entered into a group that has a probability of winning rather than those who have not bought a lottery ticket. The reward is gained through actively buying a ticket rather than not and thus reducing one's chances.

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