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What Can I Do about My Bad Luck?

What Can I Do about My Bad Luck?

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Question:

Is it possible for someone to have bad luck? My grandmother used to say about such people that they have "no mazel." I am a college graduate, a learned man, but cannot seem to make any money.

Answer:

The word "mazel" is derived from the Hebrew verb "nozel" which means to flow. Mazel is the energy which flows to us from Above, and thus we often wish each other "mazel tov," which really means, "may you have a flow of positive energy."

Mazel affects every area in life. One person has mazel with his children, one has mazel in his looks, one has mazel when it comes to health, one when it comes to making money. One person has mazel with her friends, one with parents-in-law, one with great spouses for their children. One has mazel in his job, one has mazel with his bosses, one in making investments. One has mazel with her plants (a "green thumb") and one with scrabble. The list is endless.

So I'd like to make two points:

1) As you can see, mazel affects innumerable areas in a person's life. A person can have bad mazel in a specific area—but great mazel in many others. If someone has great mazel when it comes to making money, but no mazel at all with children, spouse, health, etc.—would you say he is a truly fortunate person, just because he is financially successful? What about a brilliant person in an unhappy marriage? The friendless millionaire? You write that you don't have good mazel financially—but do you have mazel in other areas of life? Nobody has good mazel in everything! And mazel with money is of far less importance than mazel in many other areas in life.

2) Mazel does not occur in a vacuum. We believe that every year on Rosh Hashanah it is decreed in Heaven what a person will earn during the coming year. That doesn't mean that a person can sit with folded hands a whole year, and say, "well, I don't have to do anything, whatever is decreed for me will just come to me." A check will not come flying in through the window. A person must make a "vessel" for the mazel, for G‑d's blessing. The vessel is hard (and honest) work, and prayer that the efforts be blessed from Above. Similarly, we pray that we should have good mazel with our children, while simultaneously working hard to be good parents and directing them in the proper way.

So instead of focusing on the presence or absence of mazel in your life, focus on doing whatever is in your ability to make a living. Make sure to pray properly three times a day to G‑d—the source of all wealth; and give charity to the best of your ability, because that is the best vehicle for financial mazel. And then stop worrying, because our livelihood is in G‑d's hands.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service.
About the artist: Sarah Kranz has been illustrating magazines, webzines and books (including five children’s books) since graduating from the Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan, in 1996. Her clients have included The New York Times and Money Marketing Magazine of London.
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Discussion (63)
July 30, 2014
To bad luck continued:
My goodness, I share your pain. I too have tried to keep my head above water and to push unwanted thoughts out of my head, but it is almost impossible to do so. I AM beginning to think that sometimes bad luck can be connected to having a trusting personality and to assume that no-one will ever do you wrong because you try to be a good person. (This just happened to me this morning, so I'm wearing it on my sleeve). So tt's possible that because a person trusts, they do things that make people, who are generally kind of self-serving for the most part, do them wrong and that seems like bad luck. Of course, this is only talking about bad luck events that happen between people and people. Between people and G-d, I just can't figure out.
Anonymous
Teaneck
July 29, 2014
Bad Luck... Continued
I recently wrote about our (My wife & I) bad luck. This has nothing to do with making money, I'm not looking to get rich or anything like that. However, it does seem that some people we know have great luck & I'm surprised because these people are selfish & self-serving. They have done things that are morally wrong & aren't even good to their parents! I'm wondering if this is "Their" heaven & "Our" hell. If so, at least we have something to look forward to!
We try to stay positive, even making jokes about it. One day I helped a woman that was stuck at the side of the road with car problems. On the way home I said to my wife, "I did a good deed, now watch our car have problems"...
The next day I got a flat tire... Hmmm!
A. Greenberg
Florida
July 29, 2014
it is in your hands to change luck!
i would like to say only one thing after reading many of your posts on bad luck! if you keep on thinking you have bad luck and always think negative, then you will only attract it. anyone heard of the law of attraction? attract GOODness by thinking good things, doing good deeds.
i have always been unlucky in making my own money. i worked for family run businesses and they made/make the money i have earned for them. when i ran the business on my name, i made nothing!
but that didn't stop me.
my marriage last year failed completely... on the verge of giving up, i prayed hard. very hard. i thought that ending the marriage as being a GOOD thing, believing that there is a reason why it is ending, because there is goodness waiting for me. a year later, i am still married and our marriage has never been any happier. i thank god as much as possible because HE had helped me through my hardships.
don't give up on praying. things happen for a reason, one day we all will know why life holds hard
RnX
leicestershire, uk
July 23, 2014
Thank you
Great - so very helpful. It makes you think and it put things in perspective.

Most grateful here.

Thank you,

Mike
London, UK
July 13, 2014
This is beautiful, helped me makes sense of things. Thank you :)
Anonymous
Vancouver, Canada
January 8, 2014
I always try to make contact to the god from my heart ...since my childhood
Anonymous
ahmedabad ,india
January 6, 2014
Bad Luck
Although Jews are the Chosen ones, they seem to have more than their share of bad luck (Me included). My wife (Non-Jewish) probably never did a bad thing in her life and she has had the worst luck I've ever seen Even when she tried to convert to Judaism she had bad luck... The Rabbi gave her a hard time because he told her that Moses wast the first Jew and she disagreed and said Abraham was... The Rabbi (Reform) threw her out of the class, now she's hesitant about trying again.
A. Greenberg
Florida
January 5, 2014
:) People have written books on this topic but you were able to explain the whole think in a few sentences. Thank you.
Ana León
NYC
December 30, 2013
no religion
Can make no comment as my luck is schizophrenic. Life and luck the same. Sending me that way completely. Focus on this second in time. Worry about this second in time. Enjoy this second in time, and most importantly learn from this second in time. Then move on to the next second and so on. Fill up your seconds in life and fully appreciate them. Then take a little time out anywhere and take the deepest breath you can. Relax. Then get on with the next second. Unfortunately its life, religious or not.
tammy
uk
October 22, 2013
True flow
I congratulate Sarah for speaking about Mazel and inspiring others. Many religions and philosophies, even science at some point, speak about a Flow which comes to us, surround our bodies, minds and actions, influence the world we create for us and seems to be able to impregnate us in some ways if we know how to draw it and accept it.

From someone in Japan or China talking about how to use a Toki-Moai changed his/her luck for ever to someone in Brazil speaking about how Iemanjá flowers offer changed his/her life, many speak the same. Thousands believe their lives changed because of something like that, I they have reason.

Even if the source of the Flow is differently explained or assigned, it is recognizable across boundaries and is there.

We perhaps don't have a Toki-Moai or need it, or we don't believe in Iemanja, but we should give a better look on Mazel and how to inspire it , this may open many interesting doors. Well done Sarah
Rennee Yudka
Florida US
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