It seems like everyone is struggling to make ends meet these days. And that’s why I recently bought a lotto ticket. The allure of winning $6 million enticed me to take the gamble. $6 million. That would cut out virtually all life stresses and leave doors of opportunity wide open.

Well, I didn’t have the lucky number this time. But I did do a little research into the correlation between wealth and life satisfaction. It seems that the old adage “money can’t buy happiness” has some truth to it. Although wealth has as much as tripled in the past 50 years, mental illness has increased at an equally rapid rate. A 1985 survey showed that respondents from the “Forbes 400” list and members of the Maasai African tribe—a people with no electricity or running water—ranked around equally in terms of satisfaction with life.

To the fiscally challenged, these implications seem ludicrous. We’ll go with Tevye’s logic and say, “G‑d, please test me!”Even if wealth brings along its own challenges, we’ll go with Tevye’s logic and say, “G‑d, please test me!” We’d take the challenge of prosperity over the challenge of poverty any day. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

In the Talmud, the sages tell us that before a child is born, the heavenly court decides whether he or she is destined to live a life of riches or a life of modest means. Whatever scenario he or she is given will be part of their life’s test. And of the two, the test of wealth is more severe. The challenge that money presents is the notion of independence from G‑d. When a person works to create success and security for himself, it is hard to feel tenderly dependent on the Creator. It is equally hard for the wealthy not to feel intrinsically superior to the average person. To remain humble and G‑d-centered in the face of prosperity is a colossal challenge.

Being broke, on the other hand, is also a test from G‑d. Can you trust that the creator of the world will provide for your needs? Are you able to maintain the belief that G‑d is good, despite the bad times? This is the challenging face of poverty.

When the Jews finally entered into the Land of Israel, where they would set up a national economic system, they were well-trained to have a very healthy perspective towards money. Surprisingly, it was not through lectures or Torah classes that they gleaned this healthy perspective, but through 40 years of eating manna.

The manna made the Jew feel both rich and poor simultaneously. Rich, because manna was heavenly bread and would miraculously taste like anything its eater requested. It was absolute wonder bread. But it made them feel poor since it necessitated pocket-to-mouth living. Only enough manna fell for the day’s feed. If one left over food for tomorrow, the leftovers would spoil.G‑d cares, and He will provide again tomorrow There was no sense of provisions surplus; although you were fed today, there was no absolute security for tomorrow. This is the fear of the business owner whose business makes just enough to stay afloat. I paid my bills today, but the future is unknown.

For 40 years, the people had to come to terms with their rationed food. Each day, they had the opportunity to practice two helpful meditations: a) All abundance comes from G‑d; and b) G‑d cares, and He will provide again tomorrow.

Perhaps this is why Moses preserved a bit of the manna, and it remained for almost 1,000 years after its time. It symbolized this balanced meditation that can take a lifetime to master. But when practiced often enough, it affords enormous serenity to the affluent and the indigent alike.

(Adapted from a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe)