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Ha'azinu(Deuteronomy 32)

Law of Attraction

This week's Torah portion is actually a song that Moses told to the Jewish people. In one of its verses, Moses fortold the future and warned the Jews that they would:

"become fat ... and ... desert God..." (Deuteronomy, 32:15 )


Why does becoming fat - or having material success - lead to deserting God? The answer lies in a powerful human nature reality. This universal truism states that ego and success go hand in hand. When a person has success of any kind it can cause his ego to become instantly inflated.

Let's walk through a typical cycle. If a person is down on his luck and believes in God, he'll ask Him to make things better. When God turns things around, this person is certainly connected and appreciative to the One who did it.

Once someone has success in a particular area of his lives, the Law of Attraction then comes into play. This Law, put simply, is that you will attract more of what you already have. So, when someone is successful it almost inevitably "attracts" and leads to more success. Success does beget success. This Law is at work in countless different areas of your life.

And when the Law of Attraction kicks in, something fascinating happens: A person's ego springs into action. When the initial success that God gave to a person attracts more success, this person has a natural tendency to believe that it was he - not God - who got him the increased amount of success. His thinking - either consciously or sub-consciously - is that while God got him out of the starting gate, it was he who took the ball and made the most of the initial success.

While this might be true, there's one key and crucial element missing in the thought process. Yes, you did work hard and you did make the most of the opportunities you had BUT it was God that allowed the success to come to you.

This last part is counter-intuitive and it's the exact thing that God is warning us against. Most people can see God's hand in their lives when they "catch a break" and something quickly changes and goes their way. But when they begin to ride their new found success to higher levels, they completely believe that it was their effort making the results happen.

While a person must put forth effort, it's only because of God's desire as to whether or not he'll be successful. (An even more enlightened person takes this one step further and understands that even a person's own effort was made possible only because God allowed him to have the desire, strength, and ability to put forth this effort.)

When you live with the truism that God controls everything, it becomes incredibly liberating. This is because if you put forth the effort and don't get the "success" you desired it was only because God knows that at this point it's the perfect and precise outcome that's tailor-made for you.

Just as you don't beat yourself up over the color of your eyes, the time the sun sets, or the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean, so too, you don't beat yourself up if you don't succeed in a particular endeavor. Put in the necessary effort and then see what God thinks is best. (Therefore, those who live with this reality understand just how silly it is ever to lie, cheat, or steal in business.)

God wants you to be successful and He very much wants you to use your talent and brains to become even more successful. He just also wants you never to look back and realize that you "became fat ... and ... deserted God."

Start off this brand new year knowing Who's really filling in all the numbers on your check - and know that He wants to make it huge.

September 20, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 16

(14) Anonymous, September 26, 2014 11:15 AM


This is excellent! Thank you so much for posting it!

(13) Anonymous, September 23, 2014 4:49 PM


Your analysis that G-d controls all is problematic since it immediately bumps into the problems of free will and why do bad things happen to good people. If G-d controls all than surely G-d is responsible for ill as well as good. And if G-d controls all than people are mere puppets in the celestial puppet show with no agency, defeating the moral imperative.

(12) Scott Granowski, October 10, 2008 3:14 PM

Be Yourself

Your column is filled with insights. As my rabbi told me, "It's all God all the time." Since God controls everything, I am successful (even when it doesn't appear so to me) and reality is perfect (even when it doesn't appear so to me).

jay, September 7, 2013 7:13 AM


Good insight

(11) Al, October 9, 2008 4:34 AM

Psychology & Torah

Since my educational background, among other things, is in psychology, this article really spoke to me. Nice to see something concerning HaShem's perspective on the minds of men, as well as something of a psychological bent that is also G-Dly. Typically, science is devoid of G-D.

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