The Right Way to Succeed in Life and Business

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto’s talks are renowned across the Jewish world, blending chassidic teachings and philosophy with practical advice for a better life. This week, we explore his insights from the Torah section of Noso.

Our Sages teach in the midrash (Kohelet Rabbah 1:14): Rabbi Yudan, citing Rabbi Aivu, says no man leaves this world with even half his desires fulfilled. If a person has a portion, he wants two hundred; if he has two hundred, he wants four hundred. No matter what or how much a person has, they always desire more.

This insatiable desire is inherent in the human soul. After achieving something, a person naturally wants to achieve more, seeking ever greater goals. This trait, intrinsic to our nature, can be used positively—such as someone who donates to charity wanting to give more, or someone who studies Torah wanting to learn more. However, this same drive can lead to negative outcomes if not properly managed. Constantly striving for more, without ever feeling satisfied, can lead to a detrimental path.

Our sages explain that when God bestows blessings or a lavish livelihood, the negative urges to obtain more unhealthily do not afflict the person. Divine blessings bring abundant sustenance or success without the dangerous urges that can lead to mistakes and downfalls. Success driven solely by personal ambition—like someone who has one portion and wants two hundred—can result in a downfall. But blessings from God protect from such dangerous urges, ensuring they are purely beneficial.

Proverbs (10:22) states, “God’s blessing will make him rich, and He will not add sorrow with it.” This means that blessings from God bring wealth without the sorrow that often accompanies unchecked ambition. A person blessed by God does not have the drive to continually want more, avoiding the pitfalls of insatiable desire. God’s blessings are free from the destructive urges that can lead to downfalls and entanglements.

King David’s words in Psalms (Psalms 86:4) echo this sentiment: “Make the soul of your servant happy, for to You, O Lord, I will lift up my soul.” David asks God to make him happy and content with what he receives from the divine, not driven by endless desire. He seeks blessings that bring true happiness, free from the dangers of constantly wanting more.

When God commanded the priests to bless the Israelites (Numbers 6:23-27) with the Priestly Blessing, the Israelites initially protested, preferring blessings directly from God to avoid the potential pitfalls of human-mediated blessings. They feared human blessings might come with the urge for more, which divine blessings avoid. God assured them that the priests’ blessings were, in fact, His own, delivered through His messengers.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek blessings, livelihood, and success from God, ensuring they come without the negative ramifications of endless desire. Divine blessings bring true wealth and happiness, free from the insatiable urges that can lead to trouble.

We hope that all the blessings and abundance in our lives come directly from the Almighty, bringing us inner happiness, joy, and pleasure.

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