20 Iyar 5779 / Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bechukotai
 
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Rewards of Hard Work    

Rewards of Hard Work



The journey is as important as the destination. Developing the ability to push ourselves to and beyond our limits enables us to constantly become better people…

 



Get up early. Work late. And strike oil. —John D. Rockefeller

 

So many people succeed after putting in less effort than so many other people who fall short.

 

If I work day and night on my business, I can still fail. If someone else works just as hard, but he made the right cuisine right when it became the new fashion, pretty soon he may not be working hard at all, just sipping ice tea while earning 6%.

 

A man can work day and night to make money, and stand before the Heavenly Court with nothing. A man can work day and night on mitzvot, and in the end he has everything.

 

What it’s All About?

 

We work hard for a number of reasons.

 

We do it because there is a chance we will make it. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. We do it because the journey is as important as the destination. Developing the ability to push ourselves to and beyond our limits enables us to constantly become better people.

 

It’s not just the end zone we are after, it’s evading opponents, running faster, jumping high, and catching the ball.

 

But what happens when we score the touchdown, but still lose the game?

 

Emuna

 

This is why we are commanded to bless Hashem for the bad along with the good.

 

You know what is the difference between chess and life? In chess, once you are checkmated the king falls and the game ends. In life, even after you are checkmated by a situation that didn’t execute the way you sweated for ... the King still reigns and you keep playing.

 

The only guarantee that hard work pays off is with Emuna. According to the Tanya, the textbook definition of evil is not doing wrong, it’s giving up on the purpose of all the hard work you dedicate to a well spent life.

 

The Pillars of Hard Work

 

Understanding the rules of hard work can keep your morale high and your focus in gear to give it your best throughout any circumstance:

 

Just because there is no guarantee that hard work will get you what you want, doesn’t mean you should let it go. We are told in Ethics of the Fathers that it’s not for us to finish the work, but neither are we allowed to stop doing it.

 

Doing something produces results. These results, good or bad, serve as beacons to keep you on course towards what you should be doing.

 

There is no such thing as nonproductive. In man’s eyes, if you spend 10 years trying to become a Rabbi and you fail your final test, it looks like you wasted a decade of your life. You still earned the merit of 10 years learning Torah.

 
If you are working hard, that work has value. If it is something you asked Hashem’s blessing for, it is something that you are supposed to be doing – even if the results aren’t what you expected.

 

Judaism has been a hard-working failure for over 3,000 years. We are blessed by Hashem in the knowledge that it’s the effort He blesses us for, and that for all the generations who didn’t get to see these days' return, even our generation – the harder we work, the more we will be blessed as if we succeeded.

 

Psalm 126, which we say on every Holiday ends with the blessing:

 

He who bears his measure of seeds walks along weeping, but returns in exultation, a bearer of his sheaves. (Psalms 126:6)

 

Gratitude is the gas that feeds your engine.

 

What if you work so hard and climb so high, all you see is what comes next? What if your goal was to become group leader and the moment that happened, all you thought about was department head? What if you worked for 20 years and was next in line to become CEO, but saw it all pointless because you were stuck as a Senior VP making what 99% of the people on earth only dream of?

 

The hardest work of all is to look at where we are right now and say to ourselves, “Thank You Hashem.” In this we see how our hard work did materialize.

 

It is all for a purpose. The Chazon Ish distinguishes between Emuna and Bitachon. Emuna is knowing that Hashem is guiding everything in life. Bitachon is internalizing the Hand of Hashem in every single event in our reality. By understanding that all of your hard work is part of the journey G-d set you on, and that journey will have obstacles, hurdles, rough terrain, 90 degree angles that make it appear like you are headed in the wrong direction, even 180 degree U turns that may make it seem like you are moving in the opposite direction – it is all advancement.

The harder you work the higher you will climb. Every step is worth it.

 

 

* * *

David Ben Horin is the developer for The Aliyah Boot Camp, an online video course for anyone considering life in Israel. He also wrote The Great Life Hack, a guide to self-greatness by utilizing your deepest passions to get what you want. You can have this for free.





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