6 Kislev 5778 / Friday, November 24, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Emuna and the Job Search    

Emuna and the Job Search

To serve Hashem with joy in the face of uncertainty takes our emuna to the next level. To tell Him that we are not afraid expresses our Trust in His handling of the world...


Looking for a job has become increasingly stressful. You used to send out fifty resumes, and wait. Every week there would be a handful of phone calls. The cycle of sending out resumes and going to interviews eventually led to a job offer.
Today we have social media where we get to see everyone’s resume. Half of the people looking for work are more qualified. Networking has taken on a bigger role. The job seeker has to reach out to industry groups, old friends, and even former classmates to see what’s available.
The economy is more challenging. For many of us who moved to Israel, speaking Hebrew as a second language makes the search even more intimidating.
Then there is a knock on the door. It’s one of our children. He asks for some paper so he can draw something. We smile and give him a kiss. Then we ask ourselves, how will I be able to take care of him?
That’s when we can hardly breathe.
This is the most common mistake we make while looking for work.
Under the weight of the pressure, we forget Who is our Only Provider. The head hunters, stacks of resumes, and networks are really tests of faith. Hashem provides our daily bread. From the first day of our lives to the last, everything we are given comes directly from His compassionate hands.
The inclination is to rely on our resume to get the callback. The moment it is up to “me” to provide for “my” family instead of Hashem, we separate from G-d. That’s when we begin to question if we can survive in a cut throat world. It’s when we see our surroundings as real, and forget that it’s all an illusion.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe sums it up perfectly:
Every day you are nourished straight from His full, open, and overflowing hand. Everything in between – all your work and accounts and bills and receivables and clientele and prospects and investments – all is but a cloud of interface between His giving hand and your soul, an interface between His giving which He bends and flexes at whim... If He is feeding you today, and He has fed you and provided all you need and more all these days, what concerns could you have about tomorrow? Is there then something that could stand in His way? Could He possibly have run out of means to provide for you?
Take your focus off the measured channels by which you receive and place your eyes on the Infinite Source of Giving. The Source has no lack of channels.
True, it is up to the job seeker to do everything he can to find work, but the test is not to worry throughout the process. Looking for a job is just another exercise in Emuna. It’s human nature to despair over a lack of income. The easiest step is to become resentful of those who are working. If we are good people, why has G-d rewarded us with this situation?
The greatest leap forward comes once we understand that the situation is the reward!
To serve Hashem with joy in the face of such uncertainty takes our emuna to the next level. To tell G-d that we are not afraid expresses sincere Trust in His supervision of every movement in His universe. This brings great blessings to the world. For those of us striving to make a life in Israel – this is a larger-than-life effort! The Land of Israel is won with emunah. The war of Gog and Magog, which we are currently fighting, is a war of faith. The numerical value of Israel’s greatest enemy, Amalek, is equal to the word doubt. To cry out in the face of such doubt, “ANI MA’AMIM!” is like firing a hundred nuclear weapons at our enemies.
There are hundreds of trillions of people, mammals, birds, fish, insects, and other creatures on this earth. G-d provides their every meal several times a day. What are we worried about? G-d is giving us the greatest blessing imaginable: the chance to embolden our emunah under the most difficult circumstances.
How do we do it? I have discovered two methods.
One: talk to G-d several times a day. If you are looking for work, don’t limit your conversations with Hashem to once per day. The day is long and the pressure builds. Every couple of hours take a break, and talk to G-d. Tell Him that you know this is a test. You know He is taking care of you, and you know it will be all right. The weight of the world is very heavy and we need to lighten our load often throughout the day.
Two: Be happy. We may never get the chance to sing in the face of such challenges again! The Rebbe elaborates:
Depression, anxiety, and pessimism damage the channels of blessing from Above. The Zohar explains that there is a lower world – our world – and there is a higher world. Our world is meant to continuously receive from that higher world, but always according to our personal state of mind. If we are glowing with joy and vitality, then that world shines upon us in its full glory. But if we wallow in depression and anxiety, then we can only receive the metered trickle that squeezes through a constricted channel. That is why King David said, "Serve G-d with joy!" Because your joy here draws down another joy from above.
Listen to holy music. Take a walk each day. Go to a holy place and dance! Tell G-d about everything in life you are grateful He gave you. Find something to be happy about each day and hold onto it for dear life.
Everything in this world is spiritual. Especially the most physical parts of it.
* * *
Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East, a book about personal holiness and happiness. He lives in Israel with his wife and three children.

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