The Big Payoff
What do you do when you're not making enough money? Work harder? Look for another job? There's much better advice that guarantees big payoffs, financial and otherwise...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
Here's a true story, fresh out of the oven.
"Dave" is a superb businessman. His combined talents of financial acumen, marketing skills and tech savviness make him a super consultant and entrepreneur. Yet lately, he's been involved in all types of projects, none of which seem to get off the ground. If only one of them fulfills its potential, Dave will be seeing big bucks.
Dave is blessed with beautiful children. His oldest son "Udi", 12, is just like him – brilliant, savvy and sassy. These qualities can be the greatest blessing, or the opposite. This year, Udi had an uninspiring teacher; as such, he, with his razor-quick mind and prodigious memory was severely bored and unmotivated in class. Rather than using his energy in Gemara, Udi was swinging from the rafters in the classroom. Right before Shavuot, the teacher kicked him out of class.
All year long, Dave and his wife searched for the dream tutor who would stimulate Udi and channel his energy into Torah. No one succeeded. Over his eyeballs in work and commitments, Dave couldn't seem to find the time to learn with his son.
Then, Shavuot arrived. Like everyone else, Dave stayed up all night learning Torah. Udi asked if he could learn with his father, who happened to be his role model and the one person in the world whom he had total respect for. Dave of course agreed. That night, they learned from midnight to 4 AM without a single break. Together, they finished the entire mishnayot of Tractate Shabbat. Udi was enthralled by learning with his father. "Daddy, why can't we learn together every night?" Dave couldn't refuse. He promised that as a reward for Udi's behaving in school, they'd learn together for a half hour every night...
The day after Shavuot, Dave got an email from one of his consulting clients. Dave hesitated to open the email, because he had totally neglected this client for a month since other matters were more pressing. Reluctantly, Dave opened the email. "Dear Dave," wrote the client, "the web marketing strategy that you planned for us three months ago has really hit big. We've just had the best month in the company's history. As per our agreement, you will soon be receiving a well-deserved bonus check." Dave couldn't believe his eyes. All the months that he knocked himself out for this client yielded nothing other than a minimal consultant fee. But now, without his lifting a finger, he was about to collect a big dividend.
Could Dave's big payoff have any connection to his all-night learning with his son? Emuna says yes, definitely. Sure, consulting and web marketing were Dave's apparent way of putting food on the table. But, Hashem was showing him that cyber commerce was not at all his main task in life. Veshinantam levanecha – his first responsibility was to teach his children Torah. Once he did, abundance began to flow forth in his life.
Don't think that Dave's story is unique. During my recent trip to the USA, two different real estate agents in the New Jersey area came to seek my advice and blessing. The first told me that he showed fifty properties during the previous month yet hadn't sold a single one. His twelve hour working days had nothing to show for in four whole weeks. He asked me what's wrong. I asked him if he had any marital problems. He said no, thank G-d, and that his wife was an angel. I then asked him if he learns Torah with his children. He said no again, explaining that he doesn't have the time. I suggested that he reassess his priorities and set aside time to learn with his children daily, no matter what. I then blessed him with joy from his children and an adequate, effortless livelihood.
The second real estate agent asked my advice as to the best way to invest one's tithe money. This individual works a mere 5 to 6 hours a day, yet normally sells about four houses a month. The week before he came to see me, he sold two houses in one day, which amounted to $28,000 in commissions! When I asked him, he told me that he religiously learns with each of his six children every single day!
The evil inclination (EI) wants to keep a person in the shackles of spiritual and monetary poverty. The EI's big lie is that making a living is one's first priority. It's certainly not! The moment we reprioritize and put our children high on our list while devoting daily time to learn with them, we see the tremendously huge payoff of seeing happy kids walking in the ways of Torah, well-adjusted children who glow with parental attention. What's more, the big bucks flow as well. Try it – learning Torah with your children is all gain and no loss.
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.