Shlomo Ezagui

Why Work. God Provides.

(UnSplash: Celyn Kang)

One of the great principles the Baal Shem Tov taught is that everything in this world exists by Divine providence. Everything in the universe, down to the smallest detail, is God’s creation, and nothing happens just because.

Therefore, it follows that everything a person sees or hears is a message from God to that individual, and that is what the Baal Shem Tov taught.

One Saturday, I was walking to synagogue, and I happened to pass a beautifully constructed spider web, attached between two branches, glistening in the morning sun. Right there in the middle of the web was the cutest spider ever. He or she was waiting for either breakfast or lunch.

It got me thinking about the way God designed this magnificent creature. It has been preprogrammed to act in a particular manner to attract its sustenance, no different than any other animal born with its food-finding method. A little effort on their end and, voila! The food is just enough for the next meal and maybe after that.

God designed the entire universe so that everything is provided for. It is built in. The sun shines and offers its energy all on its own. The water rises and becomes rain all on its own — it is preprogrammed to do so. Even when it comes to man, the Talmud says that before the baby is born, an angel comes before God and asks, “Will this baby be wise or unwise? Rich or poor? However, whether it will be good or not is not determined.” In another place, the Talmud says, “Everything is in the hands of heaven except for fear of heaven.

The truth is that whatever we are meant to have will come one way or another. Why, then, did God give us a mind? That seems to be the whole problem. If we could not think the way we humans can, we would go about like the spider, creating whatever it takes to get lunch, and there would be less jealousy, worry, stress, anxiety, and depression.

We decide to work harder than we should at the expense of our relationships, children, communities, and religion, hoping to make it big. Real big. In the interim, all those other parts of our lives are robbed of their allotted time and attention, and in the end, we cannot make more than what God pre-determined.

We get stressed out, worrying we haven’t saved enough for our children’s college fund and retirement, when the Talmud says, “Whoever has enough food for today and is worried about tomorrow, he is from the small believers.”

Like everything else, God created out of His Kindness for good. He granted us the ability to think independently. We are uniquely endowed with the ability to know our existence so that we can have the possibility to choose between good and bad and earn eternal rewards for ourselves.

This gift is meant for our good, to choose good. However, for it to be the gift it is meant to be, we cannot waste it by using the ability to think to our detriment.

We work not because otherwise God could not give us money; the Bible says we are obligated to work to transform the workplace into a Godly environment by being a good and honest example to others. A person never “makes” money. He goes to work to receive what God wants him to receive.

When a person understands this principle — that our only role is to always make the right choice between good and bad as described in God’s book — and leaves the rest up to God, he becomes like the cute little spider, stress-free and worry-free, filled with satisfaction and happiness every time he uses his God-given gift for where he really can make an impact and that is, to choose and decide to do only good.

Chapter 138

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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