Sunday, November 7, 2010

Alternate Means

"For I have seen all that Lavan is doing to you" [Vayeitze 31:12]

The Chofetz Chaim expounded on this verse by giving the following parable: A father gave out portions of food to each of his sons. When they had received their portions, one of the sons quickly snatched away his brother's portion.

The son whose portion had been stolen approached his father and said "Father, I asked my brother to return my portion, but he refuses to do so. I know that you do not want me to quarrel with him and forcibly take it back. I am therefore requesting, Father, than you give me another portion."

When the father heard these words from his son, he kissed him on the head. In addition, he gave him another portion that was bigger than the one he had received previously. Said the father, "My son, your fine character has found favor in my eyes. Your brother who has stolen from you can keep the portion that he has stolen. But at our next meal, I will not give him anything at all. To you however, I will give twice as much!"

The same is true, said the Chofetz Chaim, of one's livelihood. Hashem's concern extends to each and every individual, and He graciously provides each person with sustenance. On occasion, an individual may infringe upon another's livelihood, causing him to lose business and profit. The victim will probably ask the person to stop his infringement, but the request may be ignored.

At this point, the wise individual will turn to Hashem and request that He provide him with an alternate means of earning a livelihood, so that he should not be forced to quarrel with the other fellow.

Such a request, concluded the Chofetz Chaim, will certainly find favor in the eyes of Hashem, and He will provide the person with a livelihood many times greater than what was originally intended for him.

by Rabbi Y. Bronstein

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