14 Tishrei 5782 / Monday, September 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Monetary Gain with No Pain    

Monetary Gain with No Pain

Think twice about making money in a way that brings pain and sorrow to other people, for the way we treat others comes right back at us…


Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody



I met a person who lends people money with interest. He has a small business, like a little bank, which he operates legally. I'm not talking about the black market or the grey-market loan sharks who for sure will not see a happy ending unless they make serious teshuva. Why? So many people hate them and bear malice in their hearts. The loan sharks incur a tremendous amount of curses from people who fall into their traps of exorbitant interest rates, debts that mushroom and loans that can never be repaid. Even these small, legal loan offices like the one we're talking about become the brunt of curses and resentment.


I told this person, "Listen, charging interest is against the Torah; no one pays interest willingly. People will undoubtedly curse you and resent you for stealing their money. Why make a living like this? The basis for everything is emuna, especially in making a living. You'll receive whatever is coming to you. The Almighty gives a person his livelihood, for that's His job. You'll get whatever is decreed for you, not a penny more or a penny less. Why not look for a better job, one where you won't transgress Torah or upset people?"


Policemen who give out traffic tickets or the "meter maids", the municipal workers who give out parking tickets are the brunt of unlimited curses. Every ticket they issue is a boomerang of a hundred curses. Check and see if such people live a good life. No way! There's no chance that they live a happy life. A person must strive to be the agent of good so that others will bless him. A person must choose a profession or vocation that enables him to make people happy and bring them good. One must avoid situations where he or she becomes the agent of pain or sorrow.


Recently, I heard a story about a young man who fell way off the path of Torah observance to the point that he became involved with the underworld. Ultimately, he was murdered. In her sorrow, his widow told her young children, "Just as your father won't raise you, anyone involved in his murder won't raise their children!" A widow's curse is as cogent as a nuclear weapon. Any person that had any connection at all with the underworld murder that put an end to her husband's life suffered according to the degree of his involvement: one was killed in a traffic accident, another lost a hand and an eye, and a third was incarcerated for a long time, away from his children for many years. No one involved in the murder was able to raise his own children because of the widow's curse, Heaven forbid.


I have a message for all the professionals and business proprietors: if you understand this message properly, from this moment on, do everything in your power so that your clients and customers are happy and satisfied. Make sure you give them the best possible service, even if you lose money in a particular deal. You'll gain in that your clients and customers will bless you and abundance will come your way through alternate routes. At any rate, money is a mirage; you'll receive whatever is destined for you, if not from this customer or from this transaction, then from a different one. You'll receive abundance especially when the people with whom you have dealings bless you, for then, nothing impedes the Divine abundance from flowing in your direction.


But, if you make money – no matter how much – and your client or customer is not happy, even if he only bears a little resentment in his heart and all the more so if he feels sorrow, you become the big loser. You won't derive any benefit or enjoyment from the money, and that should only be the worst aspect of it. The price you pay for making people unhappy, especially in commercial dealings, is liable to be tremendous. I've seen it countless times with my own eyes: people have reached dead ends in life because of other people not forgiving them. All the prayers in the world don't help a person if he or she cheats, swindles or saddens another person. To reopen those locked gates of abundance, a person must ask forgiveness from those whom he or she harmed. Once he or she does, everything turns around for the very best.

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