Before hitting the ground running, small business owners carefully consider how they’re going to structure their legal corporation. A very common setup is what’s called a “pass-through entity” — a legal business entity that passes any income it makes straight to the owners, shareholders, or investors. As a result, only these individuals—and not the entity itself—are taxed on the revenues. Pass-through entities are commonly used to avoid double taxation, which happens with income from regular corporations, such as a C corporation.

This type of entity has a long history in the United States and is on the rise. According to one report, in the early 1980s, almost all business income in the United States was generated by C corporations. But by 2014, of the 26 million businesses in the United States, 95 percent were pass-throughs, while only 5 percent were C-corporations.1

This isn’t a lesson about tax codes. But running a pass-through entity isn’t limited to business; we would do well to apply it to life itself.

Milk and Honey

Parshat Eikev is replete with descriptions of the Land of Israel, as Moses tells the Jewish people that they are about to enter a precious land with many beautiful qualities, including this famous depiction:

The land that G‑d promised to your forefathers ... a land flowing with milk and honey.2

What’s the significance of these two particular items? Everything in the Torah is precise, so if two specific items are linked to the uniqueness of the land, there must be a deeper message they convey.

It’s all About the Honey

We’ll leave milk for a different time and concentrate on honey.3

It turns out that there’s a lot we can learn from bees and how they go about making honey.

For starters, a bee’s primary function is to pollinate flowers, collect nectar, and make honey. From flower to flower, honey bees are critical to making the world go round. The other thing honey bees are famous for is their stinger. Just ask any kid in the park as they run in terror from the buzzing bee.

But once the kid has calmed down, the first thing parents tell their children is the comforting fact that bees are largely harmless, for they only use their stingers in self-defense. Unless they feel threatened, they will not strike first. Just stand still and mind your own business and chances are you’ll be fine.

In other words, the bee is really only concerned with making honey, and will only use its stinger when something gets in the way of that goal.

Like the bee who buzzes around and collects nectar, we, too, are tasked with moseying about and collecting sweet things. Whether it’s a personal odyssey or a literal geographic journey, G‑d sent us into this world with a spiritual mission: fly around, collect the materials of your life, and make them into something holy and sweet.

But sometimes things get in the way. Whether it’s a friend mocking you for trying to keep Shabbat, or an internal struggle with not speaking negatively about others, it’s bound to happen. And like the bee, that’s when you need to bring out your stinger.

Something’s getting in the way of your mission? It’s time to act in self-defense.

When necessary, we must proactively fight negativity, banish opposition, and deal with darkness. Firmly give that mocking neighbor a piece of your mind, and grapple with your irresistible desire for some juicy gossip.

But like the bee, only use the stinger when you absolutely have to. Otherwise, the only thing you should be concerned with is positivity—making honey.

You’re Just a Pass-Through Entity

But how? How do we keep ourselves so hyper-focused on exclusively positive action?

Once again, the bee has the answer. The Talmud points out the uniqueness of honey: though it’s secreted from a non-kosher animal, it’s still kosher. This is in stark contrast to the rule that “all secretions from a non-kosher entity are also not kosher.”

Why, indeed, is honey allowed?

The Talmud4 explains that honey isn’t really a secretion from the bee’s body, as the body is just a “pass through” entity. As such, the honey retains its botanical quality and is fit for kosher consumption.

Therein lies the simple solution to maintaining a positive attitude throughout the holy journey of life: remember that you’re merely a pass-through entity. G‑d injected a soul into your body and tasked it with a holy mission, and you’re just hosting it for the years you walk this earth.

In other words, it’s not about you, but the mission for which you are the host. Imagine a high-level CEO calling off a multibillion-dollar deal because the other negotiating partner insulted him about the tie he was wearing. Would that not be petty? Are you seriously going to forgo billions of dollars because someone said your tie was ridiculous? It’s not about you right now—it's about the company, the deal, and potential profits!

Well, we, too, are on a mission with more than billions of dollars at stake. The entirety of Creation rests on our shoulders as we go about introducing light to the dark corners of the world. So don’t get caught up with offensive remarks, personal challenges, or other such pettiness.

You’re a pass-through entity, and that’s exactly what makes you pretty much invincible.5