Shlomo Ezagui

Does a crook have jurisdiction over your finances?

Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson (1860-1920), the fifth Chabad leader, once asked his son, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok Schneerson (1880-1950), before he ascended to the leadership of the Chabad movement as the sixth Chabad Leader, to travel to a particular place to help a Chassid who, at the time, was in a tight spot and needed assistance.

When Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok returned, he reported to his father, saying, “I fulfilled all that you told me. I did the favor for that individual in the most perfect way possible.”

Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber retorted to his son, “You are making a major mistake. You did a favor for yourself (by helping that individual). God did the kindness to that person, and you were lucky to have the merit to be God’s emissary to fulfill this Divine Providence.”

By this, we are taught some great truths about the world, life, and how to view it correctly, in humility.

In the end, no one has any jurisdiction over my life or anyone’s life, for that matter. All that happens to any person, good or bad, is entirely in the hands of God. As Maimonides explains, “Everything in our lives is a direct consequence of our choices to do good or bad. When we make the proper decisions, God sees that our intentions and efforts are rewarded by giving us the objective of our choices.”

“In the way, a person desires to go, he is led.” A person who remains dedicated to becoming good and righteous will eventually succeed. It may not happen when and how he planned, but it will happen sooner or later because of the principle of reward and punishment.

If a person decides to be a crook, eventually, he will succeed. Of course, there are consequences to these choices, as God delineates clearly in the Torah. “Look, I give you this day good and bad, life and death […] choose life.”

Our destinies are entirely in God’s hands and come to us due to our dedicated commitments, confirmed through our choices. No one can take that away if a person is meant to live. If a person is meant to make a certain amount of money, it will come in one way or another, and no one can stand in the way of that Godly decision.

When a person decides to murder, his decision makes him a bad character. When a person chooses to do good, that decision makes him a good character.

“God brings good through good people, and bad through bad people.”

When a person is lucky enough to actualize a good intention by doing good, this is an extra merit with which God is rewarding the person; that they were chosen to be God’s emissary for what He intended for the person being helped, for a reason God had in mind for some time already.

When a person with murderous intentions succeeds in carrying out an evil plan, it is a terrible decree up in Heaven that these evil people were chosen to carry out because they already had proven themselves worthy of such an evil mission.

Our destinies are always entirely in the hands of a merciful God, never in the hands of other people. Sure, the harder I work, the luckier I get; however, it is all and only according to God’s plan.

“Everything is in the hands of God except for the fear of God.”

It is simple. All is in His hands, based on how I behave. In the end, a person can try all he wants to unseat a person running for a political position, try all he wants to steal another person’s livelihood or try to help someone out of their difficulties and/or help them become healthier. Ultimately, the one who has the last laugh is all up to Him; we influence Him through our prayers and good deeds.

Chapter 256


About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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