“And two chains of pure gold, attach these to the edge of the Choshen…”

The holy Modzhitzer teaches that this verse hints to the ways in which a Jew should approach work and making a living. Chazal related two foundational teachings which serve as guiding principles for a Jew’s engagement with the world of parnassah. The first teaching conveys the absolute importance of conducting business with integrity, transparency, and honesty. Our sages teach that this is the very first question a Jew is asked upon arrival in heaven after a full life on this world: “Did you contact your business in a faithful manner?” Cheating and deceit in business demonstrates not only a lack of faithfulness on the part of the cheater but his lack of faith in Hashem, an expression that Hashem cannot grant him the parnassah he requires if he plays by the rules. Honesty and integrity – that is the first pillar. The second pillar is for one’s efforts in the realm of parnassah take a decidedly back seat to spiritual strivings. A Jew must set aside time for learning, making his Torah study the primary focus of his life – if not in a quantitative sense than certainly qualitatively. Drawing a boundary in one’s life beyond which emails, stock charts, WhatsApps, and payments simply cease to exist can enable the Jew to remain ever connected to his essential identity and the mission for which his soul was sent down to this world.

The Modzhitzer Rebbe saw these two foundational teachings hinted to in our verse: “Ushtei sharsheros”: There are two chains which bind a Jew to his Creator even when engaged in the pursuit of “zahav”: financial security. The first is “tahor”: one’s business must be conducted with the purity of honesty and faith. The second is “migbalos taseh osam”: boundaries must be set for the importance one places on his financial pursuits so the primary value of Torah, tefillah, chessed, and mitzvah observance is ever maintained.

There are two chains which bind a Jew to his creator through making a living: Honesty, and the consciousness of what is truly important in life.

The Modzhitzer Rebbe
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R’ Yaakov Klein is the founder of the Lost Princess Initiative, an author, musician, and lecturer devoted to sharing the inner light of Torah through his books, music, and lectures.

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