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Question:

As you know, I started a new job a couple of months ago. Not only am I loving it, but I'm even making some money!

My problem: next week is Rosh Hashanah and I want to attend your services. I really enjoyed them last year. It was the first time in my life that I was able to follow the prayers and find some meaning in them. But the last thing I need is my boss on my case for missing work. I really don't think he will understand. Yom Kippur is on Saturday, so I won't miss it, but can't I skip Rosh Hashanah? G‑d doesn't want me to be unemployed again...does He?

Answer:

As a rabbi, it is easy for me to sit back and preach what you should do. After all, in my line of work I don't take off any of the Jewish holidays. But I appreciate that you are in a challenging situation. So instead of giving you rabbinic advice, I'll offer you some business advice.

It may seem to be jeopardising your career if you take off time to spend the day in synagogue. But in fact I think that that is the best career move you could make.

Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment. G‑d decides on this day what the year ahead will bring to each of us. Included in this judgment is how much we will earn. That's right, the exact amount of profits we will make in the coming year - down to the last dollar - is already decided on Jewish new year.

So why do we have to work at all? If my income is preordained, what difference does it make if I have a job or not? The answer: our job is necessary, but only as a means to receive what G‑d has decreed for us. It is the cup that G‑d fills with His blessing - you need the cup to catch the blessing so it doesn't spill to the floor. But the cup is not the source of the blessing; it remains empty if G‑d doesn't pour into it. If we don't work, we have not provided a means for G‑d to give what He decreed for us. But if we overwork, we will not make a cent more than what was coming to us anyway.

So it would be absurd to think that you are protecting your career by going to work instead of attending Rosh Hashana services! On the contrary, it is by participating in the prayers of the Rosh Hashanah service that you will secure your blessings for success in the year to come.

Your future is not in the hands of your boss. If he gives you the sack for going to synagogue, that is only because there are bigger and better things in store for you.

There is only one true Boss - and He is ready to give you a promotion if you stand up for what you believe in.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Yiskah Schurtman Porltand, OR September 25, 2008

career advice I always ask myself, "do I really want to work in an environment that does not respect my spiritual needs?" If they don't support that, they probably don't have much respect for family needs or a balanced life, so I don't want to work for them. It is a litmus test of what kind of company they are. It is also good business sense for them, b/c an employee that is spiritually grounded is likely to be more reliable and not miss much work. Reply

Leah Sunny Isles Beach, Fl September 24, 2008

Not going in to work on Rosh Hashanah I feel for anyone with a tough boss. However, I whole-heartedly agree in one boss the owner of heaven and earth.
That being said, I am a federal employee and know the law. An employer "may not" refuse anyone from taking their religious days off. This is the law. Of course arrange coverage for your duties if you can. Contact the EEOC or American Civil Liberties Union for assistance. They will actually have more respect for you at work because they will see that you are a person of integrity, honor, and holiness. Not only that, but you will be a role model that is desperately needed thus a double-mitzvah!!! Hope it helps!
Have a Shana Tova! Reply

pesach greenberg chicaho, il September 24, 2008

Career Advice I fully agree. I worked 30 years in a non-jewish work career. When we do what, as Jews are required of us, G-d opens the hearts and minds of others to make the way feasible. When we don't respect our beliefs then the non-jews don't respect us either.
That is our true test. Reply

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