nd make for me tasty foods as I like, and bring them to me, and I will eat, in order that my soul will bless you before I die.” (Bereishis 27:4)


The Gemara (Yoma 28) quotes Ben Azai saying a person should never worry that someone else took his parnassah. Real emunah means recognizing that every part of our livelihood is carefully apportioned Above. It’s not possible for someone to lose or gain through his own methods or his friend’s actions.  (Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, Ohr Yechezkel Emunah)

“So we’re looking forward to having you join our seminary staff in September. We’ll be in touch after Pesach to set up your schedule.”

I sailed out of the principal’s office on a high. For the last two years, I’d been teaching part-time in four different seminaries. Now I had just been offered a full-time position at this new seminary. When I got home, I did a victory jig before racing to the phone to share my news.

This concept of trusting Heaven to provide our livelihood is especially difficult because we view the world differently. We think that if we work hard, we’ll see success and fulfillment from our efforts.

But it’s all decreed already from Above. Therefore, the crux of our faith is to realize that although a person has to work for his parnassah, his livelihood is already preordained in Heaven. All his efforts and actions will not help him receive any more than what has already been decided.

A few days after Pesach, I dialed the seminary to set up my schedule for the coming year. I left a message but the secretary never called back. Nor did she return my many messages left over the next week. Something was off.

I took a deep breath and called the principal at home. When I introduced myself there was a long pause.

“I thought my secretary had been in touch with you. That job is no longer available. It was filled by Mrs. Cohen. I’m sorry.” Click.

This concept is seen in Yitzchak’s blessing of Yaakov. Yitzchak had wanted to give the brachos to Eisav, yet despite his intentions, his plans didnít materialize; he instead gave all the brachos to Yaakov, thinking he was Eisav. It’s incredible to consider that a father could make such a mistake in identifying his son. This clearly was a miracle that took place only because Hashem never planned that Eisav would receive the brachos.

All of Eisav’s efforts to bring Yitzchak food were never going to help him get the brachos, because they were already ordained from Above for Yaakov.

Essentially, Eisav had no claim that Yaakov stole the brachos. In Heaven, the brachos were never his.

Excuse me? I held the receiver in my hand, words pulsing through my head. That man just pulled a plum position he had promised to me and then handed it to someone else? And all he has to say is that he’s sorry? How dare he?

I hung up the phone ready to dash out the door, march down to his office and throw a royal tantrum. The nerve! What did Mrs. Cohen have that I couldn’t offer?

Oooh. My blood pressure rose as I realized the answer to that question. Mrs. Cohen was the niece of the owner of the seminary! No wonder she suddenly was a full-fledged member of the staff.

My brain was on fire and woe betide anyone who got in my way.

Which my husband did, a minute later. “What’s up?” he asked, leaning casually on the kitchen counter.

“You are never going to believe the audacity of that principal!” I filled him in, riding on emotion, and then suddenly the fight went out of me.

“How are we going to manage?” I wailed. “I was supposed to teach there full-time!”

“We’ll manage the way we’ve managed until now.”

“But how could he? And how could this Mrs. Cohen just sail in and take what’s mine?”

“It was never yours. You just thought it should be.”

Recently I heard that Mrs. Cohen moved back to the States. Did I rush to grab that job back, invoke justice, and regain what was rightfully mine?

Nope, that job was never mine. And thankfully I’m now wise enough now to realize that whatever I’m given is a gold mine. (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 616)