Question:

Should I quit my job that is a source of bitterness, materialism and is taking away my spirituality, but also is a source of income that provides for me and my grandmother?My grandmother has a little pension and I provide her with another income.

Answer:

You sound like a sensitive, kind person really trying to do what's best for you and your family. And you're doing an incredible Mitzvah in helping your grandmother.

It sure is a tricky balance. But that's what our world is all about. You see, G‑d could have created a planet perfectly conducive for a spiritual lifestyle. But that's not what He wanted. The Midrash1 tells us that the world was created because G‑d desired a home for Himself in the lower realms. In other words, He wanted neither Heaven nor earth. He wanted Heaven on Earth. He wanted a place where people would have to work for a living but still be able to rise above it by not falling prey to materialism and bitterness. He wanted man to work long hours and still save time for Torah and prayer.

And so, you ask whether you should do the spiritual or physical? The answer? Both. All that needs to go away is bitterness and materialism. Maybe it is indeed the nature of this specific job (and another would be better). Or perhaps it is the perspective given to working in general.

Which do you think it is?

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar