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Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread

meditations on earning a living


Your place is the wilderness. The bread you eat falls from heaven. The basket you collect it in is your attitude.

Clutch your basket tight and your manna will have no place to rest. Open it up and look to the heavens and your basket will always be full.

You have today's meal before you on the table and sit and fret over what will be tomorrow — and you claim you are "just being practical." This is not being practical — this is confusion.

A career doesn't make anything. What you receive is generated above, in a spiritual realm.Every day you are nourished straight from His full, open and overflowing hand. Everything in between — all your work and accounts and bills and receivables and clientele and prospects and investments — all is but a cloud of interface between His giving hand and your soul, an interface of no real substance which He bends and flexes at whim.

If so, if He is feeding you today, and He has fed you and provided all you need and more all these days, what concerns could you have about tomorrow? Is there then something that could stand in His way? Could He possibly have run out of means to provide for you?

Take your focus off the measured channels by which you receive and place your eyes on the Infinite Source of Giving. The Source has no lack of channels.

The reason you have a business is to reconnect all these fragments back to their Creator. And the gauge of your success is your attitude.

If you see yourself as a victim of circumstance, of competitors, markets and trends, that your bread is in the hands of flesh and blood...

...then your world is still something separate from your G‑d.

But if you have the confidence that He is always with you in whatever you do and the only one who has the power to change your destiny is you yourself through your own acts of goodness...

...then your earth is tied to the heavens, and since in the heavens nothing is lacking, so too it shall be in your world.

The common conception of how the system works is faulty. They see a career as "making a living." A career doesn't make anything. What you receive is generated above, in a spiritual realm. Your business is to set up a channel to allow all that to flow into the material world.

Every business is the business of a tailor: to make clothes for the blessings that come your way.

You can't alter the size of your blessings by putting them in bigger clothes — on the contrary, they might just be chased away. But neither should the clothes be too short. Because that is the whole purpose: that miracles and blessings should not come into the world stark naked, but be enclothed in the natural world. And we are the tailors.

From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; rendered by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. To order the Daily Thoughts in book form, click here.
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Anonymous Chandler, AZ February 8, 2011

Paranassah I agree that it all comes from Above. I also agree that at least some of it is tied to observance. However, there are also rich Jews who don't observe at all and are still rich. So it can't all be based on observance. I really need more income. We are struggling to make ends meet. No, we don't live in Somalia, and yes, we both have jobs, and yes, I am thankful for that every day. But that doesn't take away the fact that we need more money to survive right now. I just wrote the Rebbe requesting his help. I have increased my observance as of late. I know it all comes from Gd. I just wish it would come a little faster and more of it. Reply

Raziela August 30, 2010

livelihood Rabbi Tzvi,

You are a poet.

I was talking to G-D about this issue tonight. I am low on cash. While sitting in my car on the way to the shops to buy food I said to myself and G-D maybe a lot of this lack is just due to perception. We people are especially prone to trying to keep up with the Jones and I have often felt out of place because the people around me had so much materially. I then went into the shops I bought dinner for R3.50. Granted not the healthiest dinner , kosher donuts, but it was enough to drive the point home.

I can tailor make a channel for G-d to bring Divine blessings for all those who need and for me. I can live a life completely dedicated to Torah and I do not have to suffer doing it. As Jews we are only punished when we do not keep the Torah so really more important than fancy toys for the kids is it not vital that we clean up Israel? Reply

virginia M. Mitchell Farmington Hills , MI August 7, 2009

the wilderness, the drought, the basket Tonight Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke of th situation in Somalia. What can we do? Who can help?
We can give them soil, seed and water and pots and troughs to put them in. They can open cooperatives if possible. Bill Gates and Howard Buffett announced a project at the UN General Assembly where their foundations will give $75 million to small farmers in Africa and Latin America so they can sell food to the UNWorld Food Program for better farming methods such as high yield seed.
With so much distrust in the world who can be the ambassadors of this good will? There was an article in The Smithsonian magazine recently about th Whirling Dervishes trying to establish peace and love in Pakistan. They are also in Somalia. Why not support and encourage them as emissaries? Reply

Anonymous March 19, 2009

thank you this article brought tears to my eyes while my husband and i are struggling during a rough time in our lives for livelihood. as i look at my short 30 years of life, i revisit examples of how i never lacked anything in the past and G-d has always provided for me so why should i doubt that He won't do the same in the future. Your daily dose is also always divine providence to me, like the other day's "Its in your hands". Some days when i'm feeling down about something, i come to my computer and lo and behold i have a daily dose on exactly the thing i am battling with... thank you. Reply

Nussin Beijing, PRC May 20, 2008

There is a chassidic saying "One must put one's trust in G-d when it comes to one's own pocket but when it comes to someones else's we must aid since G-d wants us to be a part of the picture." G-d wants us to give not only receive. Reply

Rob van Dijk Amsterdam, Netherlands August 9, 2006

Expanding, G-d provided the world with enough resources for everyone to live ...
The problem of starvation in my opinion is due to the lack of sharing! That is; mankind actively sharing amongst eachother. I don't blame G-d! Reply

Rob van Dijk Amsterdam, Netherlands August 9, 2006

No these children are not the only ones to suffer, no one shouldn't trust in humanity instead of G-d, I don't think I said that ... Reply

Tzvi Freeman (Author) Thornhill, ON August 8, 2006

Response to Rob And are those African children the only ones to suffer starvation? In fact, of the very sages who taught us to trust in G_d, many of them suffered the most terrible persecutions, starvation and disease.
And is the answer then that since there is starvation we should not trust in G_d, but in humanity instead? Almost all the starvation in the world today is due to political maneuvering of dictators and Moslem ethnic cleansing. Reply

Rob van Dijk Amsterdam, Netherlands August 6, 2006

There are however the, one could even cynically say; proverbial, hungry African children, todlers and babies - all beautiful sons and daughters of the Most High, no doubt - that might have a different perspective, dear Tzvi ... Reply