Occasionally, we turn on the news to discover that a CEO has embezzled from his or her company. We make comments about how greedy this CEO was or where another’s flaws are. However,, it is necessary to take a step back and analyze whether we are actually different. Is the only difference between us and the guilty individual the number of zeros on our pay checks or in our bank accounts? Are our lives really led any more ethically?
An important concept on Rosh HaShanah is that Hashem controls our income. He determines a total amount that we will generate over the year. No amount of penny pinching, saving, cheating, or fraud will change that figure. We need to make a certain amount of effort so that our sustenance doesn’t seem entirely miraculous, but after that, all we can do is place our Bitachon, trust, in Hashem. Beyond this, the only way for us to change our economic condition is by giving Tzedakah. The Torah says (Devarim 14:22), “Aser Taaser,” “You shall surely tithe,” which Chazal homiletically read as “Aser Bishvil SheTitAser,” “Tithe so that you shall become rich.” If one gives Tzedakah, he will merit becoming rich
It’s a hard notion to accept, but everything is in Hashem’s hands; we are utterly dependent on Hashem for sustenance. We are willing to believe that Hashem is in control when it comes to davening for someone’s recovery from illness. We are willing to believe it when we ask him for success in school. Yet for some reason, when the world of finance becomes involved, we tend to take on an “every man for himself” attitude to combat the cheating and manipulation that occurs. Yet if we kept in mind that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is in charge, we become free of the anxiety of market fluctuations and can deal honestly in business without worry.
We won’t always attain the riches or possessions we desire, but will hopefully get the amount we need. We may wish to do Mitzvot with the money, yet Hakadosh Baruch Hu may decide that is not what we need. Greater wealth may not be beneficial and might even be injurious to our spiritual health. Greater assets can inspire a greater desire to maintain one’s funds. Often, this extra time spent on safeguarding property can decrease time spent bringing ourselves closer to Hashem through Tefillah and Torah learning.
On Rosh Hashanah, our finances for the upcoming year are inscribed by Hashem. May we have the prudence to use them appreciatively and wisely.