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5:37 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 6:37 PM
Friday, 30 Oct 2020
Parashat 
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On the last day of school, Schneur looked around his classroom for the last time. For various reasons beyond his control, he would not be returning there to teach the next year.

The future loomed ahead of him, confusing and a bit intimidating. When facing such situations in life, the Lubavitcher Rebbe advised his chassidim to fulfill the dictum of our sages, “make for yourself a Rav,” – a mentor and adviser to guide you through difficult decisions in life, in both physical and spiritual matters. In Chassidic parlance this is called a “mashpia.” And this is what Schneur decided to do. He called up his personal mentor to discuss his situation.

The mashpia, knowing of Schneur’s penchant for numbers, advised him to pursue accounting, as he felt the field would be well-suited to him. Schneur enrolled in an accounting course and soon completed his studies successfully.

Now there was just one small “problem” – to find a job. As is known, the lag between graduating and landing that first job can be long indeed. The beautiful diploma hanging on the wall testifies to your qualifications, but employers need a bit more to be convinced. Schneur applied to any accounting job he saw advertised and sent his resume out across the country, but there was always one reason or another why he was rejected. The most common question was, “Do you have experience?” Few employers were willing to take a risk on an accountant fresh out of school, with no real-world experience.

At one point Schneur saw an ad from the Discount Bank, seeking accountants. “What could be better than this?” Schneur’s inner optimist spoke up. “An established company, a well-known and respected bank.” However, he could not allow himself to get his hopes up too high. After all, less prestigious companies than this one had already turned him down for being inexperienced.

Schneur sent off the application and then put it out of his mind. In the meantime he was offered a simple job with a very small salary, but he was in such desperate straits that he accepted eagerly.

The months went by, months of hope and anticipation fighting it out with heartbreak. Schneur did not give up on finding a better job and spent a great deal of his precious time on applications and job interviews. The outcome was always the same.

Living on a very limited income naturally took its toll on his home life, as well. One day he came home and his wife showed him an envelope that had come in the mail. His first thought was, could this be good news for me? However, he knew that job offers usually came by telephone, not in the mail.

“This envelope is for me,” said his wife, seeing the hope in his eyes. “My good friend is getting married and sent me a wedding invitation.”

Schneur agreed that it was only right for them to attend the wedding of his wife’s good friend. However, their financial situation was so tight that even this happy occasion was cause for worry. How would they be able to pay for a wedding gift, when they could barely meet their day-to-day expenses?

His wife nodded gloomily. She knew the situation was dire, but this was a good friend…

Schneur, for his part, had reached his breaking point. He could no longer endure the wrenching poverty and the dashed hopes. With tears in his eyes he wrote a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, describing their tight financial situation. He spared no detail of his efforts, the training he had completed, the applications, the interviews, the rejections.

After making the appropriate preparations he placed his letter at random inside volume 15 of the Rebbe’s published letters, “Igrot Kodesh.” He opened to letter 5491, in which the Rebbe explained the custom of giving gifts to the bride and groom on their wedding day. The Rebbe wrote that on the wedding day the bride and groom are forgiven for all their sins, so they are absolved of the curse “With the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.” Therefore we give them gifts, which come to them without effort.

Schneur was astounded. The Rebbe was responding very clearly to his dilemma and indicating that they should give a gift to the bride and groom.

Very good, he thought. I wish that this blessing would also come true for us, to earn a living without sweat or effort…
A few days after the wedding, the phone rang in Schneur’s house. On the other end was the human resources manager at the Discount Bank, offering Schneur a position as an accountant. And just like that, he had a comfortable job with a comfortable income, not by “the sweat of his brow” – just as the Rebbe had written.
 

 


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